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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Sanditon | TV

An unfinished series for an unfinished novel

Andrew Davies, the man behind the 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series, the 2008 Sense & Sensibility mini-series and the 2007 Northanger Abbey TV-Movie, has brought to life another Jane Austen novel. This time, however, he is bringing to life the unfinished, seventh Austen novel Sanditon.

This cast is riddled with talent. We have Rose Williams (Reign) as our young heroine, Charlotte Heywood. Theo James (Downton Abbey, Divergent) as the brooding yet dashing Sidney Parker. Kris Marshall (Love Actually, Death in Paradise) as the enthusiastic Mr. Tom Parker. Mark Stanley (Game of Thrones, Little Women [2017 mini-series]) as the hopelessly romantic Lord Babington. Ann Reid (Bleak House [2005 mini-series]) as rich and independent Lady Denham.

Sanditon has multiple storylines to choose to focus on. One follows Tom Parker's quest to turn the town of Sanditon into a wellness oasis. Anther follows Charlotte Heywood, a young woman from the country who crosses paths with Tom Parker and his wife Mary and is then invited to come stay with them in Sanditon. Sidney Parker is one of Tom's brothers and is presented as a possible suitor for Charlotte, but in a Pride & Prejudice sort of way things start off on the wrong foot between them. Or if a fight for money is more of your taste, then you could watch how Lady Denham handles her final three remaining relatives duking it out for a chance at enheriting everything. There are some other options that I didn't mention, but why give away everything when you could watched it and enjoy the ride this first season provides?


At this time, it has been stated that there are no plans for a second season. From what I have read, it seems like maybe this series did not curate the audience size that they were hoping for in order to receive the funding needed to make a second season. But nothing says that things couldn't change.

With the way the series ends, you can see that they were hoping for a second season. But I think there is a value to the way the series ends. It adds a sense of "that's life" with all of the storylines not being completely tied with a bow.


With all of the different relational storylines, the two I enjoyed most were: that of Esther Denham and Lord Babington as well as Charlotte Heywood and Young Stringer.

There is something truly beautiful about Babington's pursuit of Esther. She initially pushes him to the side because he is what her Aunt wants for her, but not what she wants for herself. But he doesn't allow that to stop him from trying to simply be her friend. Is he interested in spending the rest of his life with her? Yes, but he doesn't force her into anything, which is a slight change for her. At the end of the season, he explains so well why he wants her over any other female who has probably shown way more interest in him. And honestly, my heart melts at his honesty.

Personally, I think it would be refreshing to see Charlotte and Young Stringer be the "happily ever after" for the series. Simply because it is seen time and time again, the young heroine marrying up (marrying rich). For the sake of the period piece, it would be different to see our main character marrying someone who is considered to be "on her level". It obvious that they inspire each other to continue to grow and push towards their dreams, which is different than what we see with the relationship that we're supposedly supposed to root for (Charlotte and Sidney).


Something Andrew Davies does more of with this series than he has with any other Austen adaptation is there are more elements of mature content. Davies isn't a stranger to bringing the subtle hints of certain things to life in his adaptations. In his 2008 mini-series adaptation of Sense & Sensibility, the first scene we see suggests some events that don't come to light until much later in the story. But with this adaptation, the subtly does not exist with Davies' take. Sandition does have a TV-14 rating, and there is good reason for it. I would not reccommend this for audiences younger than 17, honestly. Even then, I'd exercise some caution. Simply for the weight of the mature content that exists.

I did enjoy this journey that Sandition takes us on. It's definitely a series I would watch again - simply for the love of all things Austen. But also for the stories it tells and characters we get to meet and know throughout the story.

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