The pair will star alongside Last Tango In Halifax’s Anne Reid and Love Actually’s Kris Marshall in the eight-part series. Produced by Death in Paradise producer Red Planet Pictures, it was written by War and Peace and Mr Selfridge writer Andrew Davies.
Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood, played by Williams, and her spiky relationship with the charming Sidney Parker, played by James. 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.
Anne Reid will play Lady Denham. Two husbands dead and gone, Lady Denham received money from the first and a title from the second and expects to be treated with a great deal of deference. Notoriously tight-fisted, she seems to delight in the power that she wields over the town, particularly those waiting to cash in from her death. Playing the head of the Parker family, Kris Marshall stars as Tom Parker, an enthusiastic and happily married man with a vision of putting Sanditon on the map.
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. BBC Studios is selling globally.
Williams said “I am absolutely thrilled to be playing Charlotte Heywood. This role is such a blessing. She’s a brilliant character- modern, headstrong, with heart and a voice. Andrew’s scripts are so beautifully written and wonderfully full of powerful female characters. I can’t wait to start filming soon with the wonderful cast and creative team on Sanditon.”
Davies added, “I’m very excited that we are bringing the world of Sanditon to the TV audience with such a brilliant ensemble cast, headed by star of the future Rose Williams as our heroine, independent and forthright Charlotte Heywood, together with Theo James as Sidney Parker, our Regency entrepreneur with an aura of danger. It’s been such fun to develop Jane Austen’s fragment into a series – now I’m eager to see our exceptional cast bring Sanditon to life.”