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From the Writer Who Gave Us Colin Firth in his Wet Shirt in Pride & Prejudice: Sanditon

Sandition, book cover for the final and unfinished novel by Jane Austen

Sanditon, the unfinished novel by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Sanditon is being adapted for the BBC by the acclaimed Andrew Davies. Amazing when you think Jane Austen didn’t complete the novel, writing only approximately 23,000 words before putting down her pen. She died four months later. 

Plenty of others have ‘completed’ the book—like Juliette Shapiro, none of which I’ve read—so presumably purists won’t be too dismayed at Davies’ effort to bring the story to conclusion on screen. The writer is a skilled hand at period adaptations having War & Peace, Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Bleak House, Little Dorrit in his cv along with modern day classics like the Bridget Jones films and House of Cards. And more. Much more. Most relevant, of course, he scripted our favorite television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. Spurning all the other fake Austen wanna-be’s I’m actually looking forward to Davies’ iteration.

Here’s what screenwriter Davies says about the project

“Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment. 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. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

About the book 

According to Deadline “Written only months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the charming Sidney Parker. When a chance accident transports her from her rural hometown of Willingden to a would-be coastal resort, it exposes Charlotte to the intrigues and dalliances of a seaside town on the make. The drama takes viewers from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London and exposes the hidden agendas of each character and sees Charlotte discover herself and ultimately find love.’’
Not much else to report right now but you can read the actual unfinished Sanditon at the Australian iteration of the Gutenberg Project. I’m looking forward to giving it a look and dream casting the “charming Sidney Parker’’.

And now—because what better excuse?—let’s have a gander at the beloved Mr. Darcy stripping down in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice.

Oh, Mr. Darcy! You still make me smile.