After the surprise renewal that Sanditon has been renewed for two more seasons, Theo James, the star of the first season, has released a statement confirming that he won’t be returning as the smoldering Sidney Parker.
Sanditon fans – who should really call themselves Standitons if they don’t already – will be experiencing serious mixed emotions right now with yesterday’s good news that PBS’ Masterpiece anthology and United Kingdom-based streaming service BritBox were teaming up to deliver Seasons 2 and 3, which was soon followed by the news that the love interest for Rose Williams’ Charlotte Heywood won’t be coming along for the ride.
Although James’ statement doesn’t mention it explicitly, there’s a chance his decision not to return could be due to scheduling conflicts, after it was confirmed in February he’d be starring alongside Game of Thrones‘ Rose Leslie in HBO‘s adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife, from Sherlock and Doctor Who co-creator Steven Moffat. The Time Traveler’s Wife is expected to start shooting before the end of the year, as is Season 2 of Sanditon.
It’s another major shakeup for the period drama after creator Andrew Davies also stepped back from his position as showrunner, with Justin Young set to fill in after writing four episodes from the first season, but Davies will at least remain part of the creative team as an executive producer and part of the writing staff.
The fact that Sanditon is even making a comeback at all came out of the blue yesterday, after it was canceled by British network ITV in December 2019 before it had even aired on PBS. There could be still be some significant personnel changes to come on either side of the camera as the various schedules are worked out for the cast and crew.
Based on Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript, the series follows young Ms. Heywood as she arrives in the town of Sanditon to be drawn into the scheming, ambitious, and often secretive way of life the locals have long come to accept as their everyday existence. There’s no word on when we can expect Season 2 to premiere, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted, and you can check out James’ statement below.