SANDITON On MASTERPIECE
Airs Sundays, Jan. 12, 2020 at 9 p.m. & 10 p.m. and Jan. 19 - Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Credit: Courtesy of Photographer: Simon Ridgway/© Red Planet Pictures / ITV 2019
—Jane Austen’s Final Unfinished Work — Finished!—
All eight episodes will be available to stream on January 12 with our digital membership benefit KPBS Passport.
Jane Austen was chronically ill with a mysterious disease in early 1817, when she turned her thoughts to a happier subject. She started work on a witty and delightful novel set in a seaside town. She never finished it.
Now, noted screenwriter Andrew Davies (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LES MISÉRABLES, Primetime Emmy® winner for LITTLE DORRIT) picks up Austen’s plot and takes it in a glorious and satisfying direction, on SANDITON.
The eight-hour series will premiere on MASTERPIECE on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.
MASTERPIECE’s bold and lavish adaptation of Jane Austen’s final work stars Rose Williams (CURFEW) as Austen’s lively but levelheaded heroine, Charlotte Heywood; Theo James ("Divergent") as the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker; Anne Reid (YEARS AND YEARS) as the forthright grande dame of Sanditon, Lady Denham; Kris Marshall ("Love Actually") as Sanditon’s compulsively enterprising promoter, Tom Parker; and Crystal Clarke (ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE) as the mysterious West Indian heiress, Miss Lambe.
Also appearing are Kate Ashfield (SECRETS AND LIES) as Tom’s stalwart spouse, Mary; Jack Fox (RIVIERA) as the fortune hunter Sir Edward Denham; Charlotte Spencer (WATERSHIP DOWN) as Sir Edward’s scheming sister, Esther; and Lily Sacofsky (BANCROFT) as the enigmatic and elegant Clara Brereton.
With four acclaimed Austen adaptations to his credit (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, "Northanger Abbey" and "Emma"), plus the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE modernization "Bridget Jones’s Diary," Andrew Davies is no stranger to Jane Austen’s story strategies — which makes him the perfect candidate to channel the creative spirit of one of the world’s most amusing and penetrating novelists.
The storyline, as Austen left it in 11 beautifully crafted chapters, is as follows: Tom Parker (Marshall) is obsessed with turning the sleepy seaside village of Sanditon into a fashionable health resort, and he enlists the backing of local bigwig Lady Denham (Reid).
Through a mishap, Tom makes the acquaintance of the Heywoods and invites their eldest daughter, Charlotte (Williams), for an extended stay at Sanditon.
There, the sensible Charlotte observes hypochondria, avarice and attempted seduction run amok. Lady Denham, a widow, is playing matchmaker for her destitute nephew, Sir Edward (Fox), who is determined to seduce Lady Denham’s ward, Clara (Sacofsky).
The arrival of wealthy, mixed-race heiress Miss Lambe (Clarke), under the protection of Tom’s upright brother Sidney (James), adds an interesting complication.
Eligible men naturally find Miss Lambe fascinating, while Charlotte is intrigued by Sidney...
With many promising loose ends and romantic possibilities, how will the young people pair off? Who will Lady Denham designate as her heir? Will Tom’s tourist spa finally catch on with the public? Where will that lead?
Andrew Davies imaginatively enters this world of Georgian-era suitors, hustlers, and health cranks and boldly tells us what happens next.
Remarkably, even as Jane Austen was succumbing to the ravages of her fatal illness, she chose to lampoon the contemporary fad for tonics, sea water cures, and other medical remedies.
Undiagnosed at the time, her malady was probably Addison’s disease, which today is easily treatable. She might have had many years of writing ahead of her, but Jane Austen died at age 41, on July 18, 1817.
Episode 1 airs Sunday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. - A coach accident introduces Charlotte Heywood to Tom Parker and later his brother Sidney, commencing adventures in the struggling seaside resort of Sanditon.
Episode 2 airs Sunday, Jan. 12 at 10 p.m. - Aiming to seal a match for her nephew Edward, Lady Denham hosts a pineapple party for the West Indian heiress, Miss Lambe. Edward’s beautiful relatives Esther and Clara complicate matters, while Charlotte and Sidney have an awkward confrontation.
Episode 3 airs Sunday, Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. - Young Stringer presses Tom for back pay owed his builders, currently toiling under dangerous conditions. Aided by the new doctor, Charlotte and Sidney respond to an emergency. Miss Lambe pines for her absent lover.
Episode 4 airs Sunday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. - Lord Babington courts Esther, who prefers Edward. Charlotte and Sidney clash over Miss Lambe's illicit meeting with Otis. Young Stringer and Charlotte strike up a friendship.
Episode 5 airs Sunday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. - Desperate for unpaid wages, Young Stringer threatens a worker boycott of the annual cricket match with Sanditon’s gentlemen. Even Charlotte joins the game as simmering tensions boil over.
Episode 6 airs Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. - At loggerheads over the disappearance of Miss Lambe, Charlotte and Sidney comb the London underworld to find her. Meanwhile, Tom tries to save Sanditon and his marriage, and Edward and Clara hatch a cunning plot to seize Lady Denham’s legacy.
Episode 7 airs Sunday, Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. - With the approach of Sanditon’s regatta, the success of the resort hangs in the balance—as do assorted romances. How will Charlotte, Sidney, and other lovers fair in the marriage game?
Episode 8 airs Sunday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. - On the night of the Midsummer Ball, romance, jealousy, and betrayal fill the air. Events conspire to leave Charlotte and the Parker family facing difficult choices.
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In what SANDITON‘s production designer Grant Montgomery calls “a love letter to Jane,” he planted over 30 Austen references in the show! Blink and you’ll miss these Austen Easter eggs, some referencing the author’s books, and others nodding to details of her own life. Want to find out more? Subscribe to the MASTERPIECE email newsletter and be the among the first SANDITON fans to get the backstory and the details!
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All episodes will be available to stream on demand for KPBS Members beginning Jan. 12 with KPBS Passport.
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A Red Planet Pictures production commissioned for ITV by Polly Hill and MASTERPIECE by a Rebecca Eaton. Based on the unfinished novel by Jane Austen, it is written and executive produced by Andrew Davies with Belinda Campbell as executive producer for Red Planet Pictures and Rebecca Eaton as executive producer for MASTERPIECE. Series producer is Georgina Lowe and it is directed by Olly Blackburn, Lisa Clarke and Charles Sturridge. BBC Studios is distributing the series internationally.
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