Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, Sanditon, is being developed into a series by Andrew Davies and Red Planet Pictures for ITV and PBS Masterpiece.
The uncompleted novel was written months before Austen’s death in 1817, telling the story of Charlotte Heywood, who is transported from her rural hometown of Willingden to the coastal resort of Sanditon. The eight-part production, penned by Davies, is set to begin filming in the spring of next year and will be distributed globally by BBC Studios.
“It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid,” said Polly Hill, the head of drama at ITV. “There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew, who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations. We’re delighted to commission Sanditon from Belinda Campbell and her team at Red Planet Pictures.”
Rebecca Eaton, executive producer at Masterpiece, added, “Jane Austen and Andrew Davies are a match made in Masterpiece heaven. We can’t wait to introduce our audience to this wise and wonderful drama.”
Campbell, creative director at Red Planet, noted, “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.”
Davies, who is exec producing with Campbell and Eaton, added: “Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died—but what a fragment! Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”