What is itv's huge new drama series Sanditon all about?

If you loved Downton Abbey and adored Les Miserables, you’re in for a treat with itv’s major new drama series Sanditon.

Sanditon was Jane Austen’s final and incomplete novel, which is being brought to a wide television audience for the very first time. Sanditon will star Jack Fox (Riviera 2), Rose Williams (Curfew, Changeland), Theo James (The Divergent Series, Downton Abbey), Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax, Hold the Sunset,) and Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise, Love Actually).

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The sumptuous period drama, adapted by Emmy® and BAFTA-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (War & Peace, Les Misérables, Pride and Prejudice) will see Austen’s original 11-chapter fragment brought to life in an eight-part series for ITV and MASTERPIECE.

Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming (and slightly wild!) Sidney Parker (Theo James). When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of the eponymous title, it exposes Charlotte 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.

Andrew Davies, creator and screenwriter said: “I’m very excited that we are bringing the world of Sanditon to the TV audience with such a brilliant ensemble cast, headed by star of the future Rose Williams as our heroine, independent and forthright Charlotte Heywood, together with Theo James (Divergent) as Sidney Parker, our Regency entrepreneur with an aura of danger. It’s been such fun to develop Jane Austen’s fragment into a series - now I’m eager to see our exceptional cast bring Sanditon to life.”

Riviera 2’s Jack Fox stars as Sir Edward Denham

Riviera 2’s Jack Fox stars as Sir Edward Denham

Also set to star in this lavish drama are Kate Ashfield (Secrets and Lies, Line of Duty) as Mary Parker, Charlotte Spencer (The Living and the Dead, Watership Down) as Esther Denham, Lily Sacofsky (Bancroft) as Clara Bereton, Crystal Clarke (Ordeal by Innocence) as Miss Lambe. Elizabeth Berrington (Vanity Fair, Patrick Melrose) will play Mrs Griffiths, with Adrian Rawlins (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 &2, Girlfriends) as Mr Heywood, Turlough Convery (Les Miserables, Poldark) as Arthur Parker, Mark Stanley (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Game of Thrones) as Lord Babbington and Matthew Needham (The Hollow Crown, The Ritual) as Mr Crowe. Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror, A Guide to Second Date Sex) will play Diana Parker, with Leo Suter (Clique, Victoria) as Young Stringer, Kevin Eldon (Cavendish, Hot Fuzz) as Mr Hankins and Adrian Scarborough (The Madness of King George, A Very English Scandal) as Dr Fuchs.

It will air on itv later this year.