PBS Masterpiece and British broadcaster ITV have teamed up 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 the impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the charming Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to a would-be coastal resort, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make. The drama takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London and exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself and ultimately find love.
It was commissioned by Masterpiece’s Rebecca Eaton and ITV Head of Drama Polly Hill. It is 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.
Eaton said, “Jane Austen and Andrew Davies are a match made in Masterpiece heaven. We can’t wait to introduce our audience to this wise and wonderful drama.”
Hill said, “It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid. There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations. We’re delighted to commission Sanditon from Belinda Campbell and her team at Red Planet Pictures.”
Davies added, “Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment. 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. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”