Master adaptor Andrew Davies is back with a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s last novel, Sanditon, for ITV.
The eight-part drama will star Rose Williams as the impulsive lead Charlotte Heywood and Theo James as her love interest Sidney Parker, who meet in the fishing village of Sanditon. But who else is in the cast and when will the series air on TV?
The drama stars Rose Williams (Curfew) as lead character Charlotte, a young woman from a respectable country family who is invited to stay at Sanditon – an English seaside resort which is desperately trying to become fashionable.
Theo James (Downton Abbey) will play the unpredictable and roguish Sidney, alongside Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) as the wealthy and powerful Lady Denham and Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise) as Tom Parker, an enthusiastic and happily married man who is determined to put Sanditon on the map.
Also included in the very large cast is, deep breath, Kate Ashfield (Line of Duty) as Mary Parker, Jack Fox (Riviera) as Sir Edward Denham, Charlotte Spencer (Watership Down) as Esther Denham, Lily Sacofsky (Bancroft) as Clara Bereton, Crystal Clarke (Ordeal by Innocence) as Miss Lambe, Elizabeth Berrington (Vanity Fair) as Mrs Griffiths.
Then there’s Adrian Rawlins (Harry Potter) as Mr Heywood, Turlough Convery (Les Miserables) as Arthur Parker, Mark Stanley (Game of Thrones) as Lord Babbington, Matthew Needham (The Hollow Crown) as Mr Crowe, Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror) as Diana Parker, Leo Suter (Victoria) as Young Stringer, Kevin Eldon (Cavendish) as Mr Hankins and Adrian Scarborough (A Very English Scandal) as Dr Fuchs.
What is Sanditon about?
Rose Williams and Theo James in Sanditon (ITV)
Sanditon was written just months before Jane Austen’s death in 1817 and tells the story of a joyous and unconventional woman called Charlotte Heywood – or at least, that’s how things begin.
When Charlotte moves away from her countryside hometown to Sanditon, a fishing village trying to reinvent itself as a seaside resort, she is exposed to its “intrigues and dalliances” and the locals whose fortunes depend on Sanditon’s commercial success.
It is ultimately a story of love and self-discovery in the 19th century with a twisting and turning plot, which spans from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London.
Asked about new character Young Stringer, and whether Davies stuck to how he imagined Austen’s original story would have panned out, the screenwriter said: “I think she’d obviously been setting up Charlotte and Sidney for some kind of [romantic narrative] yeah.
“And Sir Edward as well, who presents himself as a sexy man but not a very reliable one, and then we thought, ‘well it’s not enough, let’s have a decent chap who’s got lots of things in common with Charlotte, somebody she instantly likes because they never quarrel,” Davies told press following an episode one screening.
“It’s a bit like Love Island, really,” he added. “I mean is she just friend-zoning him? Or is there a fanny flutter? I confess I am a fan of Love Island.”
The screenwriter also opened up about some of the show’s racier moments, referring to a scene in which male characters strip off: “As my wife has been saying, something she constantly says is that she has no objection to female nudity but she’d like to see a great deal more male nudity on the screen so I try to please her.”
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The drama was filmed mainly around the West Coast and Bristol, with the production team visiting stately homes, beautiful beaches, and seaside towns. Read more
Who is adapting Sanditon for TV?
Emmy and BAFTA-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose previous credits include War & Peace, Les Misérables and Pride and Prejudice, is adapting the novel for ITV.
This is the first major television adaptation of Austen’s final – and incomplete – novel, which she had to abandon due to poor health before she died. While Austen only wrote 11 chapters of the novel, the script has been stretched out to eight hour-long episodes.
Will there be a second season of Sanditon?
Sanditon will leave audiences wanting a second series, according to screenwriter Andrew Davies, who revealed: “We haven’t had much chance to talk about it yet, but yeah, I do have a few ideas. And in fact the way we end series one, I hope we then get to a point where an audience says, ‘You can’t leave it at that!’
He added: “Because we enjoy it, we have a great time on the writing team and we want to continue it.”