ITV and Masterpiece have announced the commission of a new mini-series based on Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel.
Sanditon was written only months before Austen’s death in 1817 and her final manuscript will be brought to life by Mr Selfridge creator Andrew Davies.
The Emmy and BAFTA-Award winning screenwriter has previously adapted War & Peace and Pride & Prejudice for television. He is currently working on the BBC’s new version of Les Misérables.
Austen’s original 11-chapter fragment has been extended into a “lavish” and “sumptuous” eight-part drama.
The official synopsis reads: “Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) 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.”
ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill commented: “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.”
Executive producer Belinda Campbell added: “Andrew Davies’ compelling scripts bear all the hallmarks of the biting social commentary and realism that makes Jane Austen one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Sanditon’s themes of class divide, ambition, power play and matters of the heart are as relevant today as they were in the early 19th century and we can’t wait to bring this incredible adaptation to life for ITV audiences to enjoy.”
Sanditon will begin filming next Spring and is expected to air in late 2019 in the UK on ITV and in the US on Masterpiece on PBS.
Jane Austen’s Sanditon book is available on Amazon.