Sanditon, the fragment of a novel Jane Austen was working on when she died, is being adapted into a splashy ITV costume drama—and the screenwriter will be Andrew Davies, a.k.a. the guy responsible for the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.
Unlike so many Austen novels, which have been made and remade more times than a nice piece of 18th century cloth, Sanditon has never been adapted. The 11 existing chapters will be spun out into eight hour-long episodes. The Hollywood Reporter summarized the plot:
Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her relationship with the humorous, charming and slightly wild Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, Charlotte is exposed to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success. The twists and turns of the plot, which takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself – and ultimately find love.
The book is also notable for the inclusion of the character of Miss Lambe, a young heiress who “was about seventeen, half mulatto, chilly and tender,” and it’ll be interesting to see what storyline the makers of the TV show create for her, as Austen never got far enough into the novel.
Davies promised in the announcement that the adaptation will include “a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress and quite a bit of nude bathing.”
I really, truly hope this is basically just Jane Austen does the Fyre Festival.