ITV has given the greenlight to Sanditon, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel that was written only months before Austen’s death in 1817. Andrew Davies, the award winning scribe behind House Of Cards and War & Peace is penning the adaptation.
Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make, and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself… and ultimately find love.
Davies has turned the eleven chapter fragment Austin penned in the 19th century into an eight episode period drama. “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”, he said. “It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”
The series is being produced by Tony Jordan’s indie Red Planet Pictures. PBS’ Masterpiece is co-producing and will air Sanditon in the United States. It was commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Poly Hill and for Masterpiece by Rebecca Eaton. Georgina Lowe is the series producer, while Jill Trevellick is the casting director. Casting will be confirmed closer to the start of production early next year. The executive producers are Belinda Campbell for Red Planet Pictures and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. In addition to writing, Davies will also executive produce. BBC Studios will handle global sales.