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“Anything goes in the world of Sanditon

“Anything goes in the world of Sanditon

The cast and creative minds behind ITV’s bold new Jane Austen drama tell all

Is this adaptation of the literary giant’s last (and unfinished) novel going to be a success? Corset is!

Sanditon, Sunday 25 August, 8pm, ITV/HD (CH 103/113). Also available for 7 days in Catch Up > Channels > ITV Hub

When it comes to the novels written by Jane Austen, chances are you will have at least heard of Pride And Prejudice, Sense And Sensibility and Persuasion. How about Sanditon? Thought not.


Austen started writing Sanditon in 1817, but sadly passed away before she could complete the novel. Two hundred and two years later and award-winning Welsh writer Andrew Davies (Pride And Prejudice, Bleak House, Les Misérables) has finished what she started. Like the master storyteller he is, Davies took the unfinished work (which, he admits, only goes up to about halfway through this opening episode in terms of narrative) and completed the rest of the story in his own unique way.

At its heart, this eight-part drama is a coming-of-age tale centred on a young girl named Charlotte Heywood (Curfew’s Rose Williams). Following a chance encounter with a wealthy couple (Death In Paradise’s Kris Marshall and Line Of Duty’s Kate Ashfield), Charlotte is invited to their sprawling home in Sanditon, a charming English seaside resort that has grand plans to become a top tourist attraction.


Once there, Charlotte meets a host of fascinating characters as she’s thrust into a world of privilege she’s never before experienced in her life. And that includes a love interest or two.


With a stellar cast featuring Anne Reid as the wealthy Lady Denham, Jack Fox as the devilish Sir Edward Denham, Theo James as the enigmatic Sidney Parker and more, Sanditon is a must-watch for fans of period drama. Read on to find out more about this hotly anticipated new series from the cast and talent behind it.


Andrew Davies (writer)

Sanditon writer Andrew Davies

“[Adapting the limited source material] was a bit daunting, but it was very much a team job. When I write these things I usually write things I like to watch. What Austen did was set up a place and establish this wonderful group of characters very quickly, but she never really got the story going. The men in the story are not like her usual people, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re like what the country was going to become in terms of the industrial age. In Austen’s earlier novels you could be rich from just having land and having tenants who paid rent. In Sanditon it’s all changing.”


Belinda Campbell, executive producer

“We were looking for things to do for the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death and when we found that there was an unfinished book, it was a gift. It was buried treasure and we couldn’t resist it. The characters and the world are so clear in the 11 chapters that were written. If you’ve got the characters, the story really comes from them.”


Rose Williams (Charlotte Heywood)

Rose Williams as Charlotte Heywood in Sanditon

“Charlotte is a different slant on Austen heroines we’ve seen in the past. Her background is slightly similar to Austen’s in that she comes from a big family. The world she’s from is in stark contrast to this up-and-coming seaside resort. Charlotte isn’t looking for a husband. She wants to come to Sanditon because she’s so inspired by the vision of the place. She’s had such a limited life on the farm, she has big dreams of the big city. When I read the script it conjured so much emotion. The characters are so rich within each episode, you get a real taste of who everyone is.”


Kris Marshall (Tom Parker)

“The ante has been upped from other period dramas. These days, period dramas can often be a bit dour and worthy, but this is witty and lustful and lascivious. It’s very Andrew Davies. At the time, the country was re-emerging after a bloody era. I just wanted to embrace that new energy. Sanditon is an infectious place where anything goes.”


Anne Reid (Lady Denham)

Anne Reid as Lady Denham in Sanditon

“From the minute I saw the script I rang my agent and said “I want to do this”. I love it. I’ve never been the lady in charge before! It’s a great change for me, because on screen I’m always in the kitchen and always taking orders. I have to say, the corsets are a bit restricting. I’ve just had a hip replacement, and one scene where we had to do a cliff walk was a frigging nightmare. It was agony! Lady Denham doesn’t take any prisoners, she can’t be bothered. You can’t be when you’re older. I’m like that.”

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