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ITV, Masterpiece adapt Austen

UK commercial broadcaster ITV and PBS Masterpiece in the US are coproducing a period drama based on Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, Sanditon.

Polly Hill

Tony Jordan’s Red Planet Pictures (Death in Paradise) is producing the series which is being developed by Emmy- and Bafta-winning writer Andrew Davies (War & Peace, Mr Selfridge, Les Misérables, Pride & Prejudice).

ITV’s head of drama Polly Hill announced the commission of Sanditon today. The 8×60’ series will be exec produced by Red Planet’s creative director Belinda Campbell and Masterpiece’s Rebecca Eaton.

Sanditon was written in the months before Austen’s death in 1817 and tells the story of a spirited young woman, Charlotte Heywood, who is transported from her rural home town to a coastal resort following an accident. The plot exposes the hidden agendas of each character as Heywood discovers herself and finds love.

Polly Hill said: “It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid. There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations.”

Casting will be announced in due course, with filming expected to begin in spring 2019. BBC Studios is distributing the series internationally.

PBS’s Masterpiece previously enjoyed ratings success by airing ITV period drama Downton Abbey.

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