Colin Firth reveals: 'I was meant to be wearing nothing in Pride and Prejudice lake scene'

Colin Firth has revealed he was meant to go naked for the famous lake scene in Pride And Prejudice.

The scene in BBC's TV adaptation of Jane Austen's novel saw the Oscar-winning King's Speech star as the brooding Mr Darcy take a plunge in the lake, wearing only a white shirt and white undergarments.

Colin admitted he was a bit too 'prudish' to strip off completely, telling Jonathan Ross on his chat show: "I was meant to be wearing precisely nothing."

The 54-year-old actor continued: "I probably would have done it. They (the BBC) had a problem because the writer had written that Mr Darcy takes all of his kit off and jumps in the pond, and we all knew that that was going to be delicate for family viewing.

"And so we thought, 'What do we do? Underpants?' And then one of these experts said, 'They don't wear underpants' so we thought, 'Let's do something that's sort of 'what if they did' and they looked like my Granny's bloomers. The idea wasn't supposed to be sexy - it was just about a guy who is tired and het up and wants to cool off...

"I think the idea had come from me, but the next most spontaneous thing to getting all your kit off and jumping in the water is to [not] get your kit off... That's just a wet blouse from the costume department spritzed down for continuity."

Colin, who stars in Matthew Vaughn's new action film Kingsman: The Secret Service, admitted he couldn't understand why so much attention was paid to the scene.

"I haven't seen [the series] since and I suppose I should see what all the fuss is about... The funny thing is the whole shirt thing has grown as the rest of it's been forgotten," he said.

"People talked about the scene where I proposed to the girl and all the rest of it. And I thought that must mean I've done a good acting job and then there was some attention about the shirt and now it's just the shirt."

The Jonathan Ross Show screens on Saturday at 9.20pm on ITV.


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.