Jane Austen's final, incomplete novel 'Sanditon' is to be turned into an ITV drama.

Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies has penned the screenplay for eight hour-long episodes based on an 11-chapter fragment written by the legendary novelist just months before she passed away in 1817, and he felt "privileged" to be able to adapt the story for a TV audience.

He said: "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."

'Sanditon' tells the story of the impulsive and unconventional character Charlotte Heywood, who has a spiky relationship with Sidney Parker, but her life changes forever when a chance accident results in her heading from her rural hometown of Willingden to the would-be coastal resort of Sanditon.

Belinda Campbell, executive producer, said: "Andrew Davies' compelling scripts bear all the hallmarks of the biting social commentary and realism that makes Jane Austen one of the most widely read writers in English literature.

"Sanditon's themes of class divide, ambition, power play and matters of the heart are as relevant today as they were in the early 19th century and we can't wait to bring this incredible adaptation to life for ITV audiences to enjoy."

Polly Hill, ITV's head of drama, added: "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."

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