Hold on to your hats, Jane Austen fans: The author’s final novel Sanditon is being adapted for TV, by the same screenwriter who made a star of Colin Firth with his adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning writer Andrew Davies will turn the book into an eight-episode drama that will air on ITV and PBS Masterpiece.
As well as revamping Pride and Prejudice, Andrew is famous for bringing Vanity Fair, Little Dorrit, and War and Peace to the small screen, and kickstarting Natasha Little, Claire Foy and Jessie Buckley‘s careers in the process. His take on Les Misérables starring Dominic West and David Oyelowo began filming in February this year.
There’s just one catch: Jane Austen didn’t finish Sanditon, having only written 11 chapters by the time she died in 1817. It tells the story of 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. It’s here that she meets the dashing Sidney Parker, but what happens next has long been a matter of debate for Austen fans, or the so-called “Jane-ites.”
Andrew is confident he can finish the story, however, calling the opportunity to develop it for a modern audience a “privilege” and a “thrill.”
“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment,” he said.
“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.”
Nude bathing? Oo-er. Could another plunge in the lake be in the cards?
Filming on Sanditon is expected to begin in spring 2019.
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