Jane Austen’s final novel comes to BBC First

Sanditon is a wonderful adaption of Jane Austen’s unfinished story about business, lust and self-discovery.

A fictional English fishing village that has transformed from its sleepy coastal roots into a modern resort complete with spa baths and tourists, is the setting for this endearing new BBC First (119) series. See the town’s transformation through the eyes of Charlotte Heywood, a young, rural woman who’s holidaying in Sanditon for the first time. Charlotte’s bold and unconventional view of the world quickly sets her apart and leads her to become a key part of the new town. She soon realises, however, that the townspeople aren’t everything they seem.

The series is based on the unfinished novel by English writer Jane Austen and features a whimsical backdrop, charismatic characters and an intriguing plot that’s peppered with family drama, love interests and business dealings. Unlike her previous works with a traditional English feel, Sanditon is perhaps one of Austen’s most modern works – it even features her very first character of colour.

Prolific screenplay adapter Andrew Davies was tasked with expanding on Austen’s unfinished novel. The first episode of the eight-part series is based mostly on the original work and thereafter, Davies takes over the story to give it his own personal touch. He is no stranger to adapting Jane Austen’s work as he’s previously reimagined Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

What to expect

Lovers of period dramas will definitely find something appealing but that’s not all the series has to offer – the UK’s Independent called it “Jane Austen meets Love Island” because Davies has definitely taken the liberty to add a bit of spice to the story. And of course, Charlotte ultimately has to choose who she’d like to “couple up” with.

Who’s in it?

Rose Williams (who starred as Princess Claude in Reign) plays Charlotte Heywood, a naïve but bright young woman whose adventure in Sanditon intertwines with the town’s key players. Theo James (Downton Abbey) is Sidney Parker, one of two brothers hoping to make their business dreams come true. Kris Marshall (My Family) plays Tom Parker, the kinder of the two brothers whose business acumen is central to the town’s development. Both brothers have chemistry with Charlotte and only time can tell which of the two men she will choose. Crystal Clarke (Star Wars) is Miss Lambe, a wealthy West Indian heiress holidaying in Sanditon with whom the townsfolk are fascinated.

Did you know?

  • There have been at least 12 other adaptions and continuations of Sanditon.
  • It was originally called The Brothers.
  • When she died, Jane Austen had finished 24,000 words of the novel.
  • The historical adviser for the series is Hannah Greig, who also worked on Poldark.

Sanditon starts Friday 1 November on BBC First (119) at 20:00.
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