Good news for Sanditon fans: the Jane Austen adaptation will be returning for a new series after all.
The period drama has been renewed for a second and third run, airing first as an exclusive on BritBox UK before being broadcast on ITV at a later date.
The first series aired back in 2019 and was a huge success with viewers and critics alike but, until this announcement, it appeared that there would be no more episodes.
In fact, the series was officially cancelled by ITV back in December 2019, with a spokesperson for the channel saying at the time, “We would have loved it to return, but unfortunately we just didn’t get the audience that would make that possible for us, which is heartbreaking for everybody involved in this wonderful adaptation.”
Since then, a major fan campaign was launched to save the series, with almost 90,000 fans signing a #SaveSanditon petition on Change.org and some fans going so far as to fund an ambitious piece of sand art depicting the show’s two main characters.
In September 2020, Amazon were moved to deny that a second series was in development after the streaming giant had tweeted it may “make a case” for a new season earlier in the year.
At that time, a spokesperson for writer Andrew Davies gave fans hope by revealing to RadioTimes.com that a second series of Sanditon was “not out of the question” – and now those fans have finally got their wish.
The news follows a successful run for the show in the US in 2020, where it was broadcast on Masterpiece and made Vogue’s list of the top 15 shows of the year.
The series is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript of the same name, and the first series ended on a massive cliffhanger which saw leads Charlotte (Rose Williams) and Sidney (Theo James) tearfully bidding each other goodbye with their fates uncertain.
The resolution to that cliffhanger will now be explored in the new series, which will be penned by Justin Young, who previously wrote four episodes of the original run.
Speaking about the renewal, Belinda Campbell, the joint managing director of production company Red Planet Pictures said, “We’re thrilled to be able to invite viewers back to Sanditon for not just one but two further visits!
“Justin Young and Andrew Davies’ sensational scripts are relevant, timely and captivating and we can’t wait to share all the exciting new developments we have in store for our much loved characters.
“Now, more than ever, I think we could all do with some joy on our TV screens as well as a healthy dose of fresh sea air.”
And BritBox UK’s managing director Will Harrison added, “We couldn’t be happier to be involved in bringing the wonderful Sanditon back to screens across the UK, and want to thank the fans for keeping these characters alive while plans came together.”
Meanwhile, Polly Hill, head of drama at ITV, said, “I’m so glad that the success of Sanditon in the US has paved the way for its return, and for ITV to continue on this wonderful journey. We know there are many loyal fans of the show in the UK that will be delighted to see its return and that we were able to find a way to bring it back.”