PBS continues the work of Jane Austen in 'Sanditon' on 'Masterpiece'

Saturday, 11 January 2020 12:00 AM Written by 


Jane Austen’s unfinished novel “Sanditon,” adapted for the big screen in 2014, gets made into a PBS period drama "Masterpiece" series by writer Andrew Davies (9 p.m. Sunday, WQED-TV), who previously adapted Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice” (1995) and “Emma” (1996).

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For Sanditon, the story of Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) and her relationship with charming entrepreneur Sidney Parker (Theo James) and named after the coastal resort where it’s set, Davies used up everything Austen wrote halfway through the first episode. From there, he had to invent.

“She only got as far as introducing the characters and the setting,” Mr. Davies said in July at a PBS press conference during the Television Critics Association summer 2019 press tour in Beverly Hills. “She did that brilliantly so that we get a very clear idea of who everybody is and what the setting is and what, really, the premise of the story is. But she broke off at the point where the story really starts.”

And though one might expect this to be a one-shot miniseries given that it’s based on an unfinished book, in July Mr. Davies said that’s not necessarily the case.


“We are hoping certainly to do at least a second series and perhaps many more,” Mr. Davies said, “that it will become the next ‘Downton’ maybe.”
That prospect looks unlikely, however, after British network ITV canceled "Sanditon" in December after its first season aired in England.


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