The Canterbury Tales - The Wife Of Bath (2003)

Concept and creative process

Opening titles for ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’, the second in a series of six radically modern reworkings of Geoffrey Chaucer's medieval classic, 'The Canterbury Tales'. The title sequence was generic and common to all of the tales in the series, depicting the many different characters who would evolve in the course of the telling, as the latter-day pilgrims made their way along the Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury Cathedral. The titles of each of the six films differed only in the addition of a specific animated map of the pilgrims’ route and the typographic treatment of key phrases of text with a voice over, which concluded each sequence and served to set the scene and location for the film to come. The title sequence was digitally composited from location shots and cut-out stills of the principal actors in their roles, resolving via the main title to the specific map sequence in each case. Producer Kate Bartlett’s stated aim was “to be as faithful to the stories and spirit of the Tales as possible … they had to appeal to those more familiar with Chaucer but also work in their own right as single films to an audience unfamiliar with Chaucer.” At the 2004 BAFTA Television Awards, Julie Waters won the Award for Best Actress for her performance in ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’. The film was also BAFTA nominated for the Best Single Drama and Best Costume Design Awards.