Jane Austen’s last ever novel, Sanditon, has been adapted for ITV by Andrew Davies (Les Misérables).
The novel, written only months before Austen’s death, was never finished and consists of just eleven chapters.
The adaptation has been extended into an eight-part series starring Rose Williams (Curfew), Theo James (The Divergent series), Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) and Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise).
Williams plays Charlotte Heywood, an impulsive and unconventional young woman who moves away from her rural hometown to the coastal resort of Sanditon, which is trying to reinvent itself as a fashionable retreat.
Heywood is exposed to the intrigues and dalliances of seaside life and the characters whose fortunes depend on its commercial success.
With her infectious energy, Heywood becomes an important part of the town, she is confident in her opinions and excited to start a new life.
But her self-confidence starts to waiver when she meets the unpredictable and restless Sidney (Theo James).
Self-made Sidney never settles in one place for long and finds his family responsibilities in Sanditon tiresome.
His cynical nature, however, hides a sensitive soul and a broken heart that is yet to heal but his connection with Heywood could help him rediscover who he is and start to trust again.
Anne Reid plays Lady Denham, a tight-fisted widower who was left money and a title from her two dead husbands and takes delight in wielding her power over the town.
However, she is not the only one in town with money when a wealthy mixed-race heiress arrives causing a stir.
Kris Marshall plays Tom Parker, the head of the parker family and a happily married man keen to put Sanditon on the map.
With his energy and charm, Parker has no trouble taking risks believing wholeheartedly his plans will come true, however his obsession could see him land in trouble.
Williams described playing Heywood as a “blessing”, she said: “She's a brilliant character- modern, headstrong, with heart and a voice.
“Andrew's scripts are so beautifully written and wonderfully full of powerful female characters.”
Andrew Davies expressed his excitement at bringing the world of Sanditon to life with “a brilliant ensemble cast”.
“It’s been such fun to develop Jane Austen’s fragment into a series - now I’m eager to see our exceptional cast bring Sanditon to life,” he added.
Sanditon starts on Sunday 25th August at 9pm on ITV.