After all this time, we thought it couldn’t possibly happen. But then… it did! It actually did! Yes, after 18 months of solid campaigning from fans, and a lot of hard work behind the scenes, there was a surprise announcement: Sanditon is making a comeback.
“I think we could all do with some joy on our TV screens as well as a healthy dose of fresh sea air,” said Belinda Campbell, of production company Red Planet Pictures. But you don’t need sea air to blow us down.
The Jane Austen-inspired period drama has been recommissioned for not just season two, but also season three, with original writer (and serial Austen adapter) Andrew Davies joined by Justin Young. We’re told that their “sensational scripts” are “relevant, timely and captivating.” Bring it on!
Sanditon season 2 release date
Filming is currently scheduled to begin later in 2021, and BritBox says season two is expected to premiere in the UK in 2022.
Will Sanditon still be on ITV?
A complex deal has been struck to bring Sanditon back – so bear with us while we explain which broadcasters are showing the drama, and when.
So: Sanditon season one originally aired in the UK on ITV, before heading over to America where it aired on PBS Masterpiece. It picked up a loyal fanbase in the UK, and was also a major hit in the US, but ITV didn’t want to make any more seasons themselves.
However, the US broadcaster – PBS Masterpiece – has now come on board as a co-producer for seasons two and three.
The other co-producer is BritBox UK (the paid streaming service run as a joint venture by the BBC and ITV), which will be able to premiere the new seasons as BritBox Originals in the UK. Will Harrison, BritBox UK MD commented: “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.”
ITV may not have gone into the new seasons of Sanditon as a co-producer this time, but the show has been “acquired by ITV” – which means that, following the premiere window on BritBox UK (the length of which is so far unspecified), the new seasons will indeed air on ITV. You might just have to wait a little while.
Sanditon season 2 cast: Who is returning?
“Casting will be announced in the future,” we’re told.
However, Rose Williams (who plays Charlotte Heywood) is definitely on board, which is good because she’s the lead actress. She tweeted: “Couldn’t be more thrilled. The continued support for our show has been so appreciated and…..effective! Can’t wait to step into Charlotte’s shoes again.”
Kris Marshall is expected to return as Tom Parker, and Crystal Clarke will be back as Georgiana Lambe. Also returning are Turlough Convery (Arthur Parker), Lily Sacofsky (Clara Brereton), and Anne Reid (Lady Denham). We await news on Leo Suter and several other stars from season one.
The show has unfortunately lost its previous lead actor, as Theo James (Sidney Parker) has confirmed he is not taking part in future seasons.
Why isn’t Theo James returning to Sanditon?
News of Sanditon’s renewal was quickly followed by another very important update: Theo James is bowing out. The actor starred as Sidney Parker in season one, but he has not signed up to the second (or third) season of the show.
“Although I relished playing Sidney, for me, I’ve always maintained that his journey concluded as I wanted it to,” he said in a statement. “The broken fairy-tale like ending between Charlotte and Sidney is different, unique and so interesting to me and I wish the cast and crew every success with future series.”
Since Sanditon season one went off-air, Theo James has appeared in The Witcher (as Young Vesemir) and starred in the movie Archive, alongside Toby Jones, Lia Williams and Stacy Martin. He is currently filming the part of Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife TV series, which presumably will keep him busy for quite some time; it’s possible there was a filming clash with Sanditon.
In February 2020, Belinda Campbell told Vulture in that Sidney and Charlotte would “absolutely” get together in season two if the show was recommissioned.
On the season one ending – which saw Sidney reject Charlotte, feeling it was his family duty to marry for money – she said: “I take no satisfaction after the fact that a lot of people want that happily ever after. And we would love the opportunity to give it to them. Of course Sidney is going to find a way around it! He’s our hero!” However, she also suggested that the season one finale was a satisfying place to leave the story, because “whilst it might not be a Jane Austen ending, it is the reality of how many love stories would’ve ended. So there is a complete story arc there.”
Sanditon season 2 plot
Here’s the official announcement: “The drama will continue to follow the high-spirited and independent heroine, Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) as she returns to the picturesque coastal resort of Sanditon. Charlotte’s journey is one thread of an intricate tapestry of compelling stories full of intrigue, excitement, and romance. Against the backdrop of beautiful vistas, familiar faces return and new inhabitants are introduced – all of whom will be having adventures as joyous and surprising as the seaside town itself.”
We are also assured by the programme-makers: “While Sidney Parker will not return, rest assured that an abundance of romance & adventure lies ahead for the Sanditon heroine. We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store.”
Andrew Davies, who originally created and led the series, will return to write several episodes and executive produce the drama. And Justin Young, who wrote four episodes of the first season, will step up to develop new seasons and take the role of lead writer and executive producer. Janice Okoh joins the show as a writer.
How many seasons of Sanditon will there be?
So far, seasons two and three have been confirmed! It remains to be seen whether this is a series which will run and run, or whether it season three will bring the story to a conclusion.