Last year, a new period drama - Sanditon - hit our screens. While the series was making its TV debut, it was rooted in history as an adaptation of Jane Austen's final, and unfinished, novel.
Starring the likes of Rose Williams, Kris Marshall and Anne Reid, the show centred on Charlotte Heywood (Williams), a young woman who meets the enterprising Parker family in a chance encounter and is taken on a journey from her contained, quiet life to the vivacious and on-the-rise seaside town of Sanditon. In her new home, Charlotte falls for Sidney Parker (Theo James) but she doesn't get the happily ever after we've come to expect from the works of Austen.
Despite its impressive cast and production team (the series was penned by renowned period drama writer Andrew Davies), back in December ITV said it would not be renewing Sanditon for a second season.
“We loved Sanditon and we were very proud to have it on ITV. We would have loved it to return, but unfortunately we just didn’t get the audience that would make that possible for us, which is heartbreaking for everybody involved in this wonderful adaptation," the channel told Radio Times.
Red Planet Pictures, who produced Sanditon, hinted at its hope for the future of the show at the time, telling Radio Times:
“We’re very proud of Sanditon and look forward to seeing how it’s received on [US channel] Masterpiece in January. We will obviously explore all opportunities to keep the world of Sanditon alive."
Now that the show has aired in the US (to "rave reviews and ratings", according to Red Planet Pictures), fans by the name of the Sanditon Sisterhood are campaigning for a second series to be commissioned.
A petition asking ITV and Red Planet Pictures to bring back the show for series two has received over 66,000 signatures at the time of writing.
"The finale of Sanditon (series 1) was unfair, unjust, and unsatisfying. It doesn't end like a true Austen adaptation – it feels like it's ended halfway through the series.
"Renew it for series 2, which the writing and production team obviously desires given the cliffhanger ending to series 1," the petition organiser said.
ITV isn't the only commissioner who could help bring Sanditon back. In June, Amazon Prime Video tweeted fans of the show using the hashtag #SaveSanditon, asking for them to make themselves known.
"#SaveSanditon Squad, we hear you and we’re doing what we can. Please could you retweet this to let us know how many of you there are so we can make a case for a new season?" the post read.
#SaveSanditon Squad, we hear you and we’re doing what we can. Please could you retweet this to let us know how many of you there are so we can make a case for a new season? P.S. Don’t use multiple accounts or we’ll get in trouble pic.twitter.com/FBfyfG87kb
— Amazon Prime Video UK (@primevideouk) June 17, 2020
The post has had over 14,000 retweets and comments and 8,000 likes at the time of writing - testament to the passionate fans of the show who are desperate for a second outing of Sanditon.
It's not unheard of for a TV series to be resurrected due to a fan-led campaign, but will it work for Sanditon?
Belinda Campbell, Joint MD of Red Planet Pictures and executive producer of Sanditon, told Goodhousekeeping.com/uk:
"We’ve been avidly following the Sanditon Sisterhood’s growing community since the show first aired, both in the UK and then in the US, and are completely bowled over by their unwavering support, love and dedication.
"We always felt that Jane Austen’s unfinished novel was the perfect starting point for a long and exciting adventure and very much believe that the brilliant characters she created for us have more to say and do.
"Although there is no official greenlight or announcement for a second series, we continue to look into all the options available. It’s wonderful that that the fans are so passionate and we’d love to be able to give them some good news if and when we can."
For now, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Sanditon. One thing's for sure, the series has a loyal set of fans willing to fight for Charlotte Heywood's story to continue.
Sanditon season one is available to view on ITV3 and the ITV Hub.
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