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PBS’s 'Sanditon' is their eight-part adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel of the same name. Here's our beginner's guide to 'Sanditon'.

‘Sanditon’ on PBS: A complete beginners guide to this period drama

PBS’s Sanditon is their eight-part adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel of the same name. The period drama follows Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) as she moves to the quiet fishing village of Sanditon for a fresh start, only to meet Sidney (Theo James), a charming man who has ambitions to turn the tranquil seaside residence into a luxury resort.

PBS called upon the master of Jane Austen adaptations, Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility) to write Sanditon, and the result is exactly the electric romantic drama that only Jane Austen and Andrew Davies can create.

Sanditon: Austen’s final novel

Jane Austen was eleven chapters into her final book, Sanditon before her death in 1817. Determined to write despite her illness, many of her chapters were completed in pencil because holding a pen was too difficult or her. While Austen’s working title for the novel was The Brothers, her family renamed it Sanditon, after the town that the heroine, Charlotte Heywood, settles in as a summer guest.

Happenstance brings Charlotte to Sanditon, after Mr. and Mrs. Parker crashes their carriage outside of her home in Sussex. The couple is forced to stay with the Heywood family as Mr. Parker recovers from the crash and their carriage is repaired. They regale the Heywood family of their plans to modernize the fishing village of Sanditon, making it a fashionable seaside resort. When the couple has finally recovered, they bring Charlotte to the town with them as a guest.

The characters lead the story

In Jane Austen fashion, it’s the characters who take center stage in Sanditon. Jane Austen never shied away from strong female lead characters and for the first time ever, introduces a woman of African descent. We’ll break down all of the characters so that you can turn your focus on the rest of the drama!

Charlotte Heywood

No stranger to a period drama, Rose Williams takes on the role of Charlotte Heywood after turns in the series,  Reign, the Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion, the 15th-century series, Medici.

Charlotte Heywood is the modern, witty, and strong-willed Austen heroine we love immediately. The oldest daughter of the Heywood family, Charlotte’s transition from a country mouse to the world of an up and coming seaside village leaves her spinning. 

Sidney Parker

Formerly a Turkish diplomat with a weak heart in Downton Abbey, Theo James is also the face of Hugo Boss’ signature scent, and now will forever be known as Sidney Parker. Sidney is the charming and mysterious brother to Charlotte’s hosts, who instantly draws Charlotte’s eye. 

Young Stringer

Because it can’t be Austen without a love triangle, Leo Suter takes on the role of Young Stringer. Suter previously made a name for himself in Victoria as the ill-fated Edward Drummond. Suter’s Young Stringer is the foreman on Sandition’s construction work, with architect dreams.

Tom Parker

Brother to Sidney, Tom Parker is played by Kris Marshall (Love Actually, Death at a Funeral). The “man with a plan” Tom is Sandition’s chief developer, despite the fact that the size of his wallet doesn’t match the size of his vision.

Miss Lambe

Austen’s first character of African descent is no servant. Miss Georgiana Lambe is played by American actress, Crystal Clarke, who has been in everything from Downton Abbey to Star Wars Episode VIII. Described in Austen’s novel as a “young West Indian of large fortune,” of mixed race and around 17 years old. 

In the series, Miss Lambe is the ward of a reluctant Sidney Parker, who brings her, much to her dismay, from the West Indies to London, and from London to the seaside resort of Sanditon.

Lady Denham

Played by Anne Reid (Years and Years), Lady Denham is the wealthy widow who holds the purse strings in the Sanditon renovation. Lady Denham is surrounded with nieces and nephews who she all believes may be seeking her fortune, meanwhile, she is enjoying the power that comes with her wealth. 

Already bringing some controversy

We were busing out the fans in the first episode of Sanditon, which includes Charlotte happening upon a. . .handjob. . .? In an Austen series? Wait, later, the couple explains that “Miss Brereton was distressed and I was endeavoring to comfort her”. We’ve never seen a man comfort a woman like that.

We can’t wait for the anticipated renewal of this beautiful period drama on PBS.

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  • Hi Bridget!
    Please help spread the word about the Sanditon GoFundMe page organized by Vasantha N. and four others, with the goal of giving 40,000 pounds to ITV and/or PBS to show Sanditon Season 2. If just some of the thousands of fans who’ve signed the petitions for Season 2 would contribute the cost of a cup of coffee, their goal would easily be met.
    As others have pointed out, it’s odd that Sanditon fans are raising funds to save Sanditon, just as Sanditon’s Parker brothers did during Season 1. Publicity stunt? Crossed fingers. Toes too for this one.
    We need happy endings during corona virus times.
    Fayette County, PA

    March 14, 2020
    • Yes. Please bring Charlotte and Sidney back together like we want it to end. Casting and story was great. Just need a happy ending for the stars

      May 7, 2020
  • Please bring #Sanditon back. I am part of the Sisterhood and we are fighting every day for more of it. #SaveSanditon #SanditonPBS. We adore this show and want more of it.

    April 24, 2020
  • I cannot believe there is no closure?! Sweden does not accept it! We have to have a compleete story!sanditon is the best serie of them all and now we dont even have a compleete story?! Please dont do that to us! Please make a #sanditonseason2 @sanditonseason2 and pay tribute to Austen and Andrews….please! This is what Sweden wants!🇸🇪🇸🇪🇸🇪

    May 6, 2020
  • Correctiin:Pay tribute to Austen and Davies, Andrew Davies

    May 6, 2020
  • I do not use to fight for saving a series, show or film, but Sanditon is so great, Beautiful and with such a Wonderful love story that I do. What I love with Sanditon? I would say all of it, but the brilliant actors, cast and crew, great costumes, Beautiful colours, magnificent nature, and of course the love story. But, the series was cancelled by ITV after the first season, when the end is a heartbreaking cliffhanger. We need another season to get our hero and heroine together again! Andrew Davies and Jane Austen want that! Sanditons audience are huge, and We are all over the world. We fight on social medias and with mail/letter campaigns. Please help us to save Sanditon.

    May 7, 2020
  • Please please please do season 2. It’s not fair leaving the fans hanging like that. Somebody finance season 2. We will be most grateful.

    May 7, 2020
  • I fully support a season 2 and so do scores of others! Season 1 was remarkable w superb acting, scenery, customs and story. I wAtched season 1 over and over. Please find a way for season 2!!

    May 7, 2020

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