Show name: Sanditon
Release date: 2019
Genre: Period drama, costume drama
Starring: Rose Williams, Theo James
Created by: Andrew Davies
Length: 60 minutes
In the time-honoured tradition of British TV producing shows that make you want to go on holiday here, no show does this more effectively at the moment than Sanditon.
Shown on ITV, Sanditon is based on an unfinished book by Jane Austen. At the time of her death, she was working on a novel set on the south coast of England.
Many of the central characters are well established by the time Jane Austen’s writing stops, although it is slightly difficult to glimpse precisely the romantic conclusions that she may have had in mind.
Season one centred around Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) and Sidney Parker (Theo James) falling in love but finding that circumstances conspired against them.
By the opening of season two this conspiracy had reached a whole new height: Theo James had moved onto a new project, so Sidney Parker was killed off by a convenient fever while he was in the West Indies.
This left Charlotte in search of a new love interest, while at the same time grieving for his loss. She seeks work as a governess in preference to marrying a young farmer.
Two options emerge.
One is rather like Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre, as employer of a young governess.
The other reminded me Mr Whickham from Pride and Prejudice, as the untrustworthy soldier.
Charlotte’s two suitors are in danger of both proving worthy (an embarrassment of riches).
Finally, neither deserves her and Charlotte ends season two as she finished season one: single.
Sanditon has been renewed for a third season, during which I can only anticipate Charlotte will find happiness with a man who genuinely loves her.
There is far more to Sanditon than the ‘will she won’t she’ of Charlotte’s disastrous love life. Her best friend Georgiana is an heiress whose mother was born a slave and whose inheritance is challenged by a white cousin who cynically alleges she is unfit to receive the money.
I’m sincerely hopeful that Georgiana’s quest to find her mother with feature heavily in season three (due for release on 19 March) and lead to a happy outcome. That, perhaps more than who Charlotte will marry, deserves our full attention.
There’s plenty that’s dark and nasty about the underbelly of the commercial trade that underpinned Regency fortunes.
Sanditon brings this out and it doesn’t pull any punches at all about the racial inequalities of the society of the time.
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