PBS has a new Jane Austen in store for its devoted Masterpiece viewers, and it’s a doozy — and no, it’s not another version of Pride and Prejudice.
Instead, the network has stepped outside Austen’s biggest hits to offer up a television adaptation of one of Austen’s least known stories — her famously unfinished novel Sanditon. Austen was writing the novel when she died in 1817.
The series was penned by Andrew Davies, the scribe behind the beloved 1995 Pride and Prejudice (you have him to thank for Colin Firth coming out of a lake dripping wet in a white shirt). PBS released the first trailer on Monday, and it features everything Austen fans could want, including a young woman unafraid to speak her mind, a lot of drama over people’s fortune, attractive men in waistcoats, and even a game of cricket on the beach!
Sanditon follows Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a classic Austen heroine — spirited and unconventional — as a chance accident brings her from her country home of Willingden to the titular coastal resort. There, Charlotte embarks on a fraught relationship with Sidney Parker (Theo James) and becomes embroiled in the intrigues of the sleepy seaside town. As Austen only completed 12 chapters of the novel before her death, Davies has a strong degree of creative license, taking audiences from London to the West Indies and more as it chronicles Charlotte’s journey of self-discovery on her path to happily-ever-after.
This creative freedom means Davies can do everything from tackling social issues of the day, including slavery and sexuality, to kicking up his character’s swimming scenes. He sees your obsession with Darcy in a lake, and raises it with a first episode scene of seaside skinny dipping.
Anne Reid (Years and Years), Crystal Clarke (Black Mirror: Smithereens), and Kris Marshall (Love Actually) also star.
Watch the trailer above for more. Sanditon will premiere in 2020.