Jane Austen’s ‘Sanditon’

(Photo: Rose Williams as Charlotte Haywood in ‘Sanditon’)

Jane Austen’s unfinished novel comes to Masterpiece.

Jane Austen (1775-1817) only completed six full-length novels, and there’s only so many times they can be filmed (or maybe not, considering that yet another version of Emma arrives in theaters next month).

Austen, though, did write 11 chapters of a seventh novel, Sanditon, which lampooned the contemporaneous fad for tonics, sea water cures, and other medical remedies.

Writers have been continuing her story for a couple of hundred years, but filmed adaptations have only been attempted during the past decade.

This Sunday, January 12, an eight-part British TV version of Sanditon will premiere over the air on PBS’ Masterpiece at 9 pm ET (but check local listings) with its first two episodes. The remaining episodes will run subsequent Sundays through February 23.

Sanditon will also be available to stream on a same-day basis via the Amazon Prime add-on channel, PBS Masterpiece, which costs $5.99 a month after a seven-day free trial. Come February 23, subscribers will be able to binge the entire series.

Sanditon was written by Andrew Davies, who won Emmys for Little Dorrit (2008) and House of Cards (1991). He is also revered by Jane Austen fans for his 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Dorrit incorporated Austen’s original work into the first episode of Sanditon and then went off on his own to continue the story, according to Wikipedia.

Rose Williams stars as Charlotte Heywood, a spirited and impulsive woman who moves from her rural home to Sanditon, a fishing village attempting to reinvent itself as a seaside resort. The cast also includes Theo James as humorous, charming Sidney Parker, and Anne Reid as grande dame Lady Denham. \

Season one of Sanditon first ran on the UK’s ITV this past August through October, and Davies was apparently ready to keep continuing the unfinished story. But, last month, ITV cancelled the series. 

If you’d like more Sanditon, though, you can stream two earlier adaptations:

Sanditon-Film-of-the-Play, from 2014, consists of a rehearsal of a two-act play by Chris Brindle, a 10-minute filmed version, and more. The two-hour video follows, but if you want to see just the 10-minute film, head to YouTube.

Welcome to Sanditon, from 2013, is a 27-episode short-form web series set in modern-day California. Here’s episode one:

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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