But first, Eaton’s deputy, Susanne Simpson, walked Masterpiece-adoring TV critics through the franchise’s projects in the works:
In 2019, PBS will air three-parter Mrs. Wilson, starring Ruth Wilson playing her own grandmother.
Also in the works, six-part Press, takes place in London and follows two rival newspapers, “one like the Sun and the other like Guardian,” Simpson said coyly, and how they compete for the best stories and the best journalists, delving “into the complicated lives of these people.” It’s penned by Doctor Foster writer Mike Bartlett, she revealed.
And, as Deadline reported earlier this month, PBS Masterpiece and British broadcaster ITV are teaming to bring Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel Sanditon to television. The broadcasters have partnered on the eight-part adaptation with War and Peace and Mr Selfridge writer Andrew Davies, which will be produced by Death in Paradise and Dickensian producer Red Planet Pictures.
Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of impulsive Charlotte Heywood and her relationship with charming Sidney Parker. Davies noted Austin only wrote a “fragment” of the novel before her death, adding “it’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”
“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,” Davies described.
Masterpiece’s Eaton and ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill commissioned the Sanditon adaptation, exec produced by Davies and Belinda Campbell and series produced by Georgina Lowe. It is expected to start filming in spring 2019 with BBC Studios selling globally.
Meanwhile, Ruth Wilson stars in the three-part drama inspired by the memoir of her grandmother. Set in 1940s and 1960s London and 1930s India, Mrs. Wilson follows Alison Wilson, who is happily married to her mystery-writer husband. When he dies a woman shows up at her door, claiming she too is Mrs. Wilson and had been married to her husband. Turns out, she wasn’t the only “other” Mrs. Wilson; in addition to learning about his multiple wives, Ruth Wilson’s grandmother learns her husband was a spy.
This Masterpiece project is co-produced with BBC, written by Anna Symon (Indian Summers) and executive produced by Ruth Wilson, Ruth Kenley-Letts (The Casual Vacancy, The Strike Series), Neil Blair (The Strike Series, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them), Lucy Richer for the BBC, and Eaton for Masterpiece. International sales are managed by all3media International.