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ITV, Masterpiece & Red Planet work on Jane Austen drama

ITV, Masterpiece and Red Planet Pictures are set to work on a new Jane Austen drama based on her final novel Sandition.

Austen’s original 11-chapter series has been extended into a 8×60 minute drama series by War & Peace writer Andrew Davies. Filming is expected to commence in spring 2019.

The title is a Red Planet Pictures production and was commissioned for ITV by Polly Hill (pictured) and Masterpiece by Rebecca Eaton.

Written months before Austen’s death in 1817, Sanditon tells the story of the joyously impulsive, spirited and unconventional Charlotte Heywood and her spiky relationship with the humorous, charming, and Sidney Parker.

It is executive produced by Red Planet Pictures’ creative director Belinda Campbell (Death in Paradise), and Masterpiece’s Rebecca Eaton. The series producer is Georgina Lowe.

BBC Studios is distributing the series internationally.

Hill, ITV’s head of drama, 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. We’re delighted to commission Sanditon from Belinda Campbell and her team at Red Planet Pictures.”

Davies added: “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.”