ITV are making a new TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished work, Sanditon.
It will consist of 8, one hour episodes to be shown over consecutive weeks.
It has been adapted for television by Andrew Davis, who also wrote the screen version of the BAFTA award-winning BBC series, Pride & Prejudice. Aired in 1995 it starred Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as the main characters, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
Davies also wrote the screenplays for War & Peace, Little Dorrit, Bleak House and Vanity Fair.
ITV are producing the lavish series in conjunction with Red Planet Pictures and Masterpiece, with Georgian Lowe as the producer. Filming is expected to begin in spring 2019.
It will be distributed internationally by the BBC Studios.
Polly Hill, Head of Drama for ITV, said: “It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid. There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew Davis, who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations.”
ITV has previously produced Mansfield Park, staring Billie Piper, and Persuasion staring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones.
Originally titled, The Brothers, Austen only completed eleven chapters of the book before her death in 1817. Miss Austen died in Winchester at the age of 41.
The novel, the last Austen wrote before her death, tells the story of unconventional and impulsive Charlotte Heywood and her relationship with the humorous and slightly wild, Sidney Parker.
When an accident results in Charlotte moving from her rural hometown of Willingden to the coastal resort of Sanditon, Charlotte is exposed to the intrigues and dalliances of the seaside and its characters depending on its commercial success.
Screenwriter and executive producer Andrew Davies spoke about his excitement of the new ITV series.
“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.”
Casting has not yet been confirmed.
ITV has previously adapted four of Austen’s novels in the past. In 2007, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey aired on TV, while Emma, starring Kate Beckinsale, was released in 1996.
So, while we wait for it to hit our screens, who would you like to see in the lead roles?
I would like Gemma Arterton and Orlando Bloom, but I think they are too bigger stars for a UK production!