×

Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel ‘Sanditon’ Set as ITV, PBS Masterpiece Series

Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, “Sanditon,” is being developed as a lavish period epic for ITV in Britain and PBS Masterpiece in the U.S. Veteran TV scribe Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice”) is writing the eight-part series, with Tony Jordan’s “Hooten & The Lady” drama indie Red Planet Pictures on production duty.

Austen penned the first 11 chapters of Sanditon months before her death in 1817. It follows Charlotte Heywood, a spirited and impulsive woman who moves from her rural home to Sanditon, a sleepy fishing village attempting to reinvent itself as a seaside resort. Heywood’s spiky relationship with the humorous, charming Sidney Parker is a key part of the story, which has “a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing,” said Davies.

“It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid,” said Polly Hill, head of drama at ITV, which counts “Downton Abbey” and “Victoria” among its period drama hits. “There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew, who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations.”

Added executive producer Belinda Campbell of Red Planet Pictures: “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.”

Davies, whose other credits include “Mr. Selfridge” and “War and Peace,” will also exec produce. He paid tribute to the source material. “Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment,” he said. “It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop ‘Sanditon’ into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

“Sanditon” is a Red Planet Pictures production commissioned for ITV by Hill and for PBS Masterpiece by Rebecca Eaton. Filming gets underway next spring. BBC Studios will distribute the series internationally.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

  • Peter Fonda Dead: 'Easy Rider' Star

    Peter Fonda, Star of 'Easy Rider,' Dies at 79

    Two-time Oscar nominee Peter Fonda, who became a counterculture icon when he co-wrote, produced and starred in seminal 1969 road movie “Easy Rider,” then showed Hollywood he could act about three decades later in “Ulee’s Gold,” died on Friday from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79. His sister Jane Fonda [...]

  • CineLink Drama Brings High-End Series to

    CineLink Drama Brings High-End Series to Sarajevo

    When the organizers of the Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink Industry Days surveyed the local TV landscape several years ago, they recognized the chance to make an impact. “We decided five years ago that we need to do something,” says CineLink industry coordinator Armin Hadzic. “The [regional] TV and public broadcasters were coming from another age.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content