Anne Reid and Kris Marshall join cast of Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sanditon

Les Misérables screenwriter Davies is adapting Austen's unfinished novel for ITV, with Rose Williams and Theo James in the leading roles

Anne Reid and Kris Marshall join the cast of ITV's Sanditon (Getty)

ITV has announced casting for its groundbreaking series Sanditon, the first ever television adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel.

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The period drama will feature Last Tango in Halifax’s Anne Reid and Death in Paradise’s Kris Marshall, alongside Theo James (The Divergent Series, Downton Abbey) and Rose Williams (Curfew, Changeland) in the starring roles.

The eight-part series, which recently commenced filming in Bristol, is written by acclaimed screenwriter Andrew Davies, who has previously brought War & Peace, Pride and Prejudice and, more recently, BBC1’s Les Misérables starring Dominic West to the small screen.

The original tale, written in 1817 shortly before Austen’s death, follows the spirited Charlotte Heywood (Williams), who moves to the would-be coastal resort of Sanditon.

“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment!” Davies said of the novel last year. “Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing.”

On her casting as the series’ leading lady, Rose Williams said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be playing Charlotte Heywood. This role is such a blessing. She’s a brilliant character: modern, headstrong, with heart and a voice. Andrew’s scripts are so beautifully written and wonderfully full of powerful female characters.”

Reid will play a rich widow, Lady Denham, while James stars as the (slightly wild) self-made man Sidney Parker, Charlotte’s love interest in Sanditon.

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Love Actually, Death in Paradise and My Family actor Kris Marshall will play Tom Parker, the man who hopes to transform Sanditon.