Outsourced Sanditon (2019) Recaps – Episode 1

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Frock Flicks note: This is a guest post by our friend Yosa Addiss. At 6 years old, she informed her mother that her selection of dress-up clothes was woefully inadequate. Yosa has been building a suitable collection ever since. After pursuing a degree in costume design, she created one of the first websites for custom-made costume gowns. Yosa has moved on to a career in marketing but remains a lover of theatre and film and lifelong fan of historical costume. Find her at yosa.com.

 

Welcome to my oh-so-spoilery review of Sanditon (2019), episode 1.

This miniseries is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, as completed by Andrew Davies. Austen completed 11 chapters before her death in 1817. I’ll base the clothing comparisons on clothing in the 1800 to 1817 range, with the potential for older characters to have formalwear from earlier.

The production has clearly been “updated for modern audiences” by the way of adding in racy sex plots. Oh yes, they go there. If you expect it will be suitable for all audiences, you might well find yourself cringing. You’ve been warned!

We first meet our intrepid adventuress Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) wielding a very large gun to try to kill a very small rabbit. She looks very modern with a lack of hairpins — I can only think her hair must be getting into her eyes like crazy.

Sanditon (2019)
Sanditon (2019)

Her hair had to be so hopelessly tangled under this hat.

Charlotte and her family (11 siblings who aren’t mentioned again until episode 8) help out the couple who have tumbled from their carriage, and they invite her to visit with them in Sanditon. It is a bit awkward as a meet-cute, but her hosts turn out to be lovely people, and it is a rare chance for a country girl to go meet suitable bachelors to marry up with, right? Right.

The Parkers look thoroughly well to do and thoroughly disheveled. I especially like her hat — it’s always a bold choice to wear a white hat. She is very nicely dressed in a lovely traveling ensemble that shows the correct high neckline for day. Her hair isn’t in ringlets, as is the style, but one token ringlet is seen very often in the series as a nod to the historic fashion.

He is wearing very nice layers, and his shirt collar is done up nicely. Only quibble is that his overcoat is clearly too wide at the shoulders. But, whatevs.

Sanditon (2019)

For comparison, here is a walking dress sketch from 1817:

walking dress from 1817

Note the hair is up, tight curls at the hairline, and a brim to shade the face. One of the guiding features of this era of women’s clothing is the attention to the neck. High blouses for daytime with incredibly dainty lace, ruffles of the lightest fabrics, etc. Her neck may be bared for evening, showing off her collarbone, to the nape of her neck to advantage. It is my opinion that wearing hair down and long would not only have been seen as improper, but also conceal details in the clothing and person that were meant to be the most attractive.

Charlotte is then transported to Sanditon, with her best wardrobe, and introduced into society. The wealthy dowager trope is fully in play here, with a wonderful performance of Anne Reid as Lady Denham.

Sanditon (2019)

Lady Denham is in a lovely stripe gown in blacks and white. Interesting is the lace around the neckline and at the sleeves that is black — my guess is that the dress was created for another production and the black lace replaced white lace to make it look more like a mourning gown. Neckline lace like this is a stretch, as is the (added?) panel at center front. Full points given for the front closure on the gown though — no back-lacing!

The real accuracy stretch is the date of the style. Lady Denham wears quite a few dresses like this throughout the series, in a style that was the peak of fashion around 1770. That is 48 years prior to our story. 10 years earlier in style on an older character? Totally! 20 years? Sure, why not. 48 years? On the wealthiest person in town? I just can’t. She is not Miss Havisham. I also can’t with her modern driving gloves.

1769 - Isabella, Viscountess Molyneux, later Countess of Sefton, by Thomas Gainsborough, via Wikimedia Commons

Lady Denham is really out of date. Compare with this style, circa 1769 – Isabella, Viscountess Molyneux, later Countess of Sefton, by Thomas Gainsborough, via Wikimedia Commons.

Later in the episode, she is in another 1770s gown, this time the rental fit so badly that it is off-the-shoulder for some reason. Still, the fabric is absolutely lovely, and clear effort was made to get the 1770s right. In 1817. Not quite sure why she has “sweet Disney grandmother” hair, but it is poofy and up, so it gets a pass. She looks so charming here that she practically glows.

Sanditon (2019)

On the interiors — the houses in Sanditon are quite dark with long dark curtains. I am very impressed by the lighting of the scenes with that limitation. The light highlights each character, and any artificial light added is subtle, which is tough. Three cheers to the professionals who made the interior shots work, it is impressive.

Sanditon (2019)

I love the work with natural light here.

Similarly, I am fascinated by the walls in the Parker’s house. I end up staring at the walls. The production designers have clearly noted the style of the time to have many small pictures on the wall — paintings, etchings watercolors, etc. were all popular. But here, they seem to be part of the wall? Like custom wallpaper? They are completely flat. It is both brilliant from a cost-saving perspective and a bit strange. In the long shot, you can see more of the walls and what promises to be the most marvelous ceiling. The spikey bits above the doorway? Love it.

Sanditon (2019)

You get the “something is looming over them” feel, can see every actor, and the lighting behind the camera is very diffused and soft. Gorgeous.

Next, we meet two men who desperately need shaves in this episode: the #handsomebutslimy trope guy and the hero of our story. Neither of them has a good reason to have not shaved. Let’s examine…

Good reasons:

  • Has been riding all day and all night for 2.5 days (I’ve read this is how long that level of beard takes) to save a damsel in distress.
  • Is destitute and living in the wilds.

Bad reason:

  • People in 2019 think it is hawt.

Mr. #handsomebutslimy is the #needsahaircut gem of a man, Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox). He is a plain old villain, waiting and hoping for an inheritance. This production takes it up a notch by making him extra immoral.

Sanditon (2019)

Then we have Mr. Hero — making a very bad first impression by assuming Charlotte is a new maid hired by his sister.

Sanditon (2019)

Mr. Hero is hero-y later on.

They look great, the beach is gorgeous, and they are both opinionated and judgy. Just what we like at the beginning of a Jane Austen story. Now go shave your face, Mr. Hero, it is bugging me.

Sanditon (2019)

We also meet the other two siblings of Mr. Hero. The comedy younger brother and sister.

Sanditon (2019)

“You know, the more I drink, the better I feel.” — Silly man is silly.

Silly man also becomes so very likable through the 8 episodes that I really want silly man to be the happiest of men. Very often in these stories the ridiculous characters are tedious and drone on and on. This production makes them a light refreshment instead.

He and his sister are total hypochondriacs. Unsettled by things like wind, they are perpetually in one sort of health concern or another. Instead of being insufferable like a Mr. Collins, they are also resolutely cheerful. These two thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and do no one any harm.

And look at that plum jacket, on him, delish! They always look great. Her hair is charming, as is her pelisse and dress with dainty print. Small prints on white cotton fabric were tremendously popular, and her fabric is likely an Indian hand-printed fabric. The printing techniques for making these lightweight cotton fabrics have lasted through the ages, and it is nice to see them used well.

1820s pelisse via Met Museum.

1820s pelisse via Met Museum.

Time to go visit the beach! The troupe goes for a bath in the ocean. This is no small undertaking, no. This involves a full change of costume for the ladies, who are wheeled out into the water in wooden contraptions, called bathing machines. The men bathe naked, full man-butts out there in a way that shows how casually they would bathe vs. the PITA it was for ladies.

Sanditon (2019)

The ladies arrive — another poor cousin of the dowager, Charlotte, and Mrs. Parker looking good. It is a nice touch that Charlotte is wearing a coarser fabric, wool gloves, and does not have a parasol. It shows that she is from a less-wealthy family, while the tan colors of her outfit matching the sand is a subtle indication that she is trying to fit in. Her hair is dreadful, and again all I can think of is the tangles she would have had in her hair by the end of the day. My hair is the same texture as hers, and it would have been a nightmare.

Sanditon (2019)
1829 - Mermaids at Brighton by William Heath via British Library

‘Mermaids at Brighton’ swim behind their bathing machines in this engraving by William Heath, c. 1829, via the British Library.

Nice bathing outfits, likely inspired by engravings done of ladies bathing at Brighton. While these machines and outfits look pretty ridiculous to modern eyes, the restrictions on women bathing in public were strictly followed. The red color, though, I seriously doubt that deep red of a fabric would have been used for something as utilitarian as a bathing costume, if a color like that was even achievable with dye in 1817. Still, look how happy they are — clearly enjoying the treat of getting to bathe in the ocean. It is such a nice scene, genuine and fun. There is a lightness to this scene and others that is so compelling.

35 minutes in, and we get a dance! A ball even! SO exciting. A look at the hairstyles and the backs of the extras gowns makes me so happy. No zippers or metal grommets to be found. The men look great with appropriate shorter trousers and dancing slippers. Hooray! Thank you costume designer Sam Perry (who doesn’t appear to have much historical costume experience). The dancers look really marvelous!

Maybe our Charlotte will have her hair in nice front curls? Nope. Here we have one token curl, a side part, and a light smokey eyeshadow. Sad trombone.

Sanditon (2019)

Then they start dancing. It is bad, folks. I have over 15 years of experience with English Contra (not country) Dancing, the style of dance of this time period. I grew up in Berea, KY, and went dancing all the time in their active folk dance community. I can wax rhapsodic about the elegance and swept-away feeling of a double row of people all moving in synchronized patterns. It is a real wonder to feel the air rush past you and hear the slip of feet as waves of people perfectly in step turn in unison. I have felt that magic, and it is hard to capture on screen, but one of the reasons I love filmed versions of Jane Austen’s novels is to see the dancing. I did not see it here.

This is what it looks like — though the music would more likely be piano and violin to start.

In Sanditon, I saw precisely 45 seconds of very awkward waltzing. Ouch. Yes, the waltz was seen in England in 1817, it was as early as 1791. Waltzes at that time were scandalous. If they needed to shove the characters so closely together, there were many ways to do so in a way that didn’t look like they had one lesson half an hour ago. A waltz is a fluid dance, and here they look like their joints could use a bit of oil. I can see that choice as character-based, but it just looks awkward.

Sanditon (2019)

The dancing pauses to introduce Crystal Clarke as the wealthy heiress Georgiana Lambe. Let us all give props to all involved for including a woman of color in this story. (More on her later.) Let us admire her lovely and fashion-forward dress.

Sanditon (2019)

Her ocean-blue (hat tip to the ocean theme) gown shows a slight widening of the shoulders and longer waistline of the 1820s, while the majority of the ladies are still wearing the empire, under-the-bust neckline of the 1810s. Also her dress fabric looks great. This isn’t cheap bridal satin or taffeta. The choice of a lightweight fabric that has a sheen but isn’t shiny is brilliant. The neckline is quite high for the time, but the ward of Mr. Hero being modest is very appropriate. Looking at her vs. the other ladies, she is strikingly lovely, and the bodice of her dress is practically armor plated. Note how her jewelry highlights her neck to great effect as well, thanks to her hair being up.

1820s gown

Phebe Caroline Jones Patterson, of Caldwell County North Carolina, wore this dress in the early to mid 1820s; via North Carolina Museum of History.

Up next we have Mr. #handsomebutslimy asking Charlotte for a dance. The look on her face says a lot!

Sanditon (2019)

It is at this point in the story, we are introduced to one of the production’s repeated quirks — the Unexpected Highland Fling. OK no, they don’t actually do the Highland Fling, but someone clearly broke out a tin whistle and the dance goes all Outlander. The actual dancing is really odd, too. It is clearly trying, I see some dance steps in there. They do the “step and turn single” that is ubiquitous, and some turns and promenades. But it is also highly choreographed. There isn’t a repeat in the dance, in a style of dance that is defined by repeating patterns. Hat tip to the choreographer for working a way to capture the conversations between multiple couples, though, that is ace. Full points given there.

It is during this dance that we have the first fully Non-Jane Austen conversations happening.

Sanditon (2019)

WHAT?!?!?

Like seriously? There is no crying in baseball rape in Jane Austen. Surely I am mistaken, clearly they didn’t go there. Yes, they went there. This woman then goes on to say she has met more than one man like him and warns Charlotte away. So they went there twice. (Spoiler: they go there over and over again.)

The victim here is Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky), a poor relation of the dowager who is hanging around hoping for an inheritance. She hints to Charlotte that she had to do something sexual with #handsomebutslimy in order to avoid something worse. Later we find out from a conversation between #handsomebutslimy and his sister that it was a hand job.

There are no hand jobs in Jane Austen.

Do I even need to point that out? There are plenty of other pressure points and potential tragedies in stories of the time without having to create this base of an act for the drama of it. Is this really the story to tell here? To say that I am disappointed in the writing would be a gross understatement.

The dance concludes after a woman sings in Gaelic (Unexpected Highland Fling) and other super out of context music. Good music, it is really lovely, but about as out of place as finding someone wearing a kimono would have been. See? Even the closed captions need you to know.

Sanditon (2019)

Costume note — I love the period detail here. Her necklace tied with ribbon, her hair up with an ornament = lovely.

This shot is pure Disney magic. I congratulate the lighting designer on brilliant work. The chandelier glows with LED magic, and the principals have just enough fill light around and behind the camera to ensure you can see them. It appears totally natural and was probably quite a challenge.

Sanditon (2019)

Look at his broad, padded, rectangular shoulders. So very fetching and so very 20th century. The shoulders of both men’s and women’s wear were softly sloped downward in the early 1800s. It is something I always look for in men’s period costume because the square shoulder-padded look is not period. It is easy to see once you start looking for it. Mr. Hero’s coat is also missing the big, broad standing collar that was fully in fashion.

1800-17, men's day suit, via V&A Museum

Compare with this c. 1800-1817, men’s wool suit (image lightened to show detail), via the V&A Museum.

Aaaand, the episode closes with a good ol’ Unexpected Highland Fling hoedown. Yes really.

Sanditon (2019)

 

 

What did you think of the first episode of Sanditon?

41 Responses

  1. Roxana

    Charlotte’s flowing hair is making me a little bit insane, as is the fact she seldom wears a hat or bonnet and wanders around half dressed in a low necked short sleeves gown indoors and out at all hours.
    I was fascinated to realize that Georgina Lambe is an actual Austen character. Jane had slid past the issue of slavery in two earlier novels, Mansfield Park and Emma, was she intending to face it head on here? Or was Miss Lambe to remain background color? Wherever she was going with Miss Lambe it certainly wasn’t where she goes in this production.
    Sanditon goes some very un-Austen places with sexual abuse and incest and the workmen sub plot. The one thing Jane was careful about was to avoid milieus and characters with whom she had no personal experience. Working class men and their world was definitely one of these. I’m not saying Mr, Stringer and his ilk aren’t worth screentime, I’m just saying Austen wouldn’t have written about them any more that she wrote about the high London society beloved of regency novels

    Reply
    • Elise

      I work with survivors of sex abuse and incest, and this adaptation had be seething. They could have done so many interesting and accurate things, since such abuse has occurred since at least Lot and his daughters, and is hinted at in Austen. Instead–spoilers: the woman who has been raped ends up with nothing. The woman who is abused but not raped gets everything. It implies that survivors are responsible for their own rape and duly punished.

      I think it is disgusting and disingenuous to both set up a Virgin/Whore dichotomy and also blame women for being abused.

      Whew! That was a lot. If it wasn’t clear…it’s because I am still mad.

      Reply
  2. Susan Pola Staples

    Avoided it like the plague. First a heroine who is clearly out wearing her hair down, Second, the un-Austenlike areas and classes. Miss Lamb does look interesting, though. But was Miss Austen really tackling the Dido Belle Lindsay character and the whole slavery issue. Wilberforce was active during the period. So?

    May have to fast forward on the DVD when out.

    Please have Josa back several times. She could even join the Little Women 2019 review.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Charlotte is very much a 21st c. woman in look and manner and ideas. I HATE that in period films. And NOBODY has a problem with her openly flouting the shibboleths of her era.
      I’ve been rereading the Sanditon fragment. Sir Edward was obviously going to be this book’s resident handsome cad and Miss Denham is another take on the unsympathetic gold digger character like Charlotte Bingley, the Misses Bertram and Elizabeth Elliott. Sir Edward is obviously courting Clara Bereton for her expectations and Charlotte because she’s a personable young thing in a skirt. Miss Lambe asis depicted being very standoffish, is she proud or simply deeply uncomfortable in white British society? Was she to be Sir Edward’s rich heiress? What would Lady Denham have said about that? Would Miss Lambe’s money have trumped her color? Is Clara as quiet as she seems or is she hiding a secret like Jane Fairfax? All sorts of interesting Austenish possibilities, all ignored in favor of downright Brontean melodrama.

      Reply
      • Roxana

        Oops, didn’t read far enough. Sir Edward is a male Catherine Morland, he’s been carried away by sensational romances and wants to be a dangerous take. Clara is to be his victim. Something tells me Clara totally has his number. The question is what does she intend to do about it?

        Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      “Avoided it like the plague.” Avoided it myself as well after one episode and, having experienced that photo of Charlotte’s ballroom eye shadow, I can see that we both made the correct decision. (Admittedly, rewatching the 1995 “P&P” for the umpteenth time is reinforcing my bias.)

      On the other hand, “There are no hand jobs in Jane Austen.” might be the best sentence I have EVER read on Frock Flicks, and I fully intend to quote it, early and often.

      Reply
      • M.E. Lawrence

        P.S. Please substitute “However” for “On the other hand.” I wish we could edit our comments.

        Reply
      • Susan Pola Staples

        My reaction to the line was a grinning snort. I’ve already thought of using it in relation to Gentleman Jack- the episode where it is revealed that Ann was molested by the reverend.
        I probably would preface it by saying ‘Did you know that “There are NO hand jobs in Jane Austen?

        And I’m going to rewatch Jennifer Ehle’s P&P again.

        Reply
    • Yosa Addiss

      It is so sad that we don’t know how Miss Austin would have treated Georgiana throughout the novel. I feel that she would have not given G such high spirit, given her desciption in the existing 11 chapters. That spirit is way too modern, but pretty flipping great in the series.

      And thanks very much! I’ll be back with recaps of the other 7 episodes, all the melodramatic weirdness.

      Reply
      • Roxana

        We never even learn her first name in the text. Just that she’s supposed to in ill health, probably suffering from the English climate, has her own maid and is in every way a star star boarder. And is nervous about sea bathing.
        She has no connection whatsoever with the Parker family but wouldn’t it be a hoot to couple her with her with Arthur Parker? They can enjoy their ill health together!

        Reply
        • Kelly

          Yes! After witnessing the Sanditon sex-on-the-drawing-room-floor scene, my husband remarked, “Well, it’s starting to look more like Austen!”
          The finished version of Sanditon from the 1980s by “Jane Austen and another lady” had Miss Lambe pairing up with Arthur Parker. I read it a long time ago, but I remember that they bonded over a shared love of nature walks along the beach. As Miss Lambe gushed, “We are both so fond of seaweed!”
          And Charlotte, please put your hair up!

          Reply
          • Roxana

            I’ve got to find that book! It seems the author and I are on the same page! Arthur has simply got to be gotten away from his hypochondriac sisters before he really does destroy his health! It would also be nice if the Misses Parker found a new interest in life other than malingering.

            Reply
  3. Charity

    IMO Andrew Davies is a dirty old man just looking for excuses to insert table-sex scenes (looking at you War & Peace), heroines seeing men fully naked and hand jobs (Sandition) into his adaptations of classic literature. Just wait. It gets worse in later episodes.

    The well-behaved, rather prudish Jane Ausuten would not approve. :P

    Reply
  4. SarahV

    There are no hand jobs in Jane Austen.

    This is just about the funniest declarative sentence I have ever read.

    Also, that would be the opening line of a killer comedic novel.

    Reply
  5. Shashwat

    The costumes certainly surpass my expectations.Most of the liberties were taken with the lead heroine’s look.
    By the way,this strange tendency of the creatives to make the plot steamy and racy doesn’t make sense even by modern logic.If they want a racy plot they should better look up to the actual racy novels of the past,Dangerous Liaisons for example.
    Modern sensibilities merely distract than draw attention.
    This isn’t related in any way,but there is a Bengali novel “Sahib bibi gholam”about a lady of the manor who drowns her sorrows by drinking alcohol to please her debauched husband.It is her servant who arranges wine for her secretly,and his relationship with the lady remains perplexing.He develops feelings for her,but she breaks his heart when she asks him to get a daughter in law for her as she has no children.Terribly tragic,but censors were irked by its film adaptation in 1962.Sadly creatives don’t think like an author when scripting films like this.

    Reply
  6. Tanyaxfiler77

    Your review is pure rubbish. Get with the times. Your making a big deal about her hair being down?? She’s a farm girl that has never left her village and then gets invited to Sanditon a beautiful beach side resort thats relaxed compared to London ways. What about Elizabeth Bennett in the 2005 adaption of pride and prejudice? Her hair was down and a mess practically the whole movie. Do you think everyone in the 1800s followed this hair trend of always pinning it up. We have rebels in every era. This show was an adaption of Jane Austens unfinished novel and advertised as a modern version. Sex happened in the 1800s if anything this was the most realistic version of the regency period drama I have ever seen. Your the reason why great shows get cancelled. Nit picking everything.

    Reply
    • Colleen

      Yes, there were rebellious women in the 19th century (George Sands comes to mind), but most of the women in Austen’s novels were rebellious in personality. In the several novels of hers I have read, none were mentioned being seen in public with their hair around their shoulders. This is a website discussing historical faux pas in movies and TV. If you are this easily offended, please refer to the recent posts about this site, and ask yourself why you are here.

      Reply
    • Roxana

      Give me a break! Charlotte is not a ‘farm girl’ she is the daughter of a gentleman farmer who raised his daughters to be gentlewomen not hoydens. And yeah, everybody in the 1800s followed the shibboleths of the era of they expected to be socially accepted. And you should hear our bloggers on the 2005 P&P!

      Reply
  7. Constance

    Hates this so much…gave up after two episodes. Charlotte’s hair drove me away first but the various plots were so ridiculously awful. WHY does a period drama have to suit 21st century tastes? Is it not obvious that Jane Austen has a huge fan base and that costume dramas are increasingly popular? I am not a huge Austen fan, as her men are the worst, either spineless wimps as heros as in MP and S&S or arrogant bullies like Darcy. Her one decent male is Bingley yet he is seen as a simpleton. The only bearable male in this mess is the chubby man, at least he is entertaining. I hate looking forwars to a show to find it to be a complete mess.

    Reply
    • Yosa Addiss

      Yes! The younger Parker brother is just marvelous. He and the sister are clearly written as the stereotype comic relief but instead of being tedious and fast-forward worthy, this production makes them jovial, lighthearted and actually funny. Big points from me for a show that had me rage-watching most of it.

      Reply
  8. Gillian Stapleton

    I think that, looking at the screencaps here, the wardrobe dept have tried to give Lady Denham a 1790s look, with front fastening open robes over lighter gowns. Some less successfully than others, it’s true, and I am of your opinion that some of her outfits were first worn by another, slimmer actor and have been extended and adapted for her.

    Reply
  9. Ruby

    Jane Austen barely even started the book (you can find it online). Davies just took the characters and turned it into something contemporary with somewhat cleaner language than we use nowadays, and some lovely costumes. It has none of Jane Austen’s subtle wit and irony about love and society. Lady Denham is very funny (and I love Anne Reid) but this is not an Austen story at all.

    I watched it though, the settings and costumes were pretty, as were the men, and I enjoyed some of it. The ending is incredibly disappointing and practically screams that a sequel is in the works. Let’s hope they manage to find some hairpins in the meantime.

    Speaking of hair, one thing that really gets to me is barely-concealed ombre hair. I saw some of this with Mrs Campion who had straight blond streaks on too-dark brown under her hat. It was parted down the middle though. Charlotte’s loose flying hair was nonsense.

    Reply
  10. Susan

    I stuck with the series for the entire run, but found myself becoming more and more irritated as it went on. I’m glad I’m done with it, but of course PBS is rerunning it from the start.

    And Charlotte running around with her hair down except for the most formal events really bugged me. As was her going out without a hat. For a young woman to wear her hair up signaled that she was grown up – I noticed this when watching “Gigi” a little while ago – hair goes up, skirt hems go down.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Even Jo March, who doesn’t want to grow up and be a young lady, pins up her hair. She threatens to wear it in pigtails till she’s twenty but she doesn’t. Marmee probably wouldn’t let her if she tried.

      Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      I sent this URL to a history-mad cousin, who snorted, “I’m behind on my FrockFlicks and hadn’t read the critique of Sanditon….Want to add my chagrin that Charlotte kept wandering around the beach, bonnet-less, in a sheer white cotton frock, in foggy weather with a breeze blowing her way-too-short hair, while the other characters are bundled up and wearing hats. Seems like she’s kind of a dimwit without any common sense.”

      Reply
      • Roxana

        And nobody seems to notice. In Real Life Mrs. Parker would have taken her firmly in hand. The lady is silly and fluttery but she’s not going to let a young woman under her roof behave like a street walker – or catch her death of cold!
        Book/Charlotte is neither a tomboy nor unconventional in her behavior, if not her thoughts. Austen heroines don’t waste their rebelliousness on minor stuff like dress and mannners. They zoom right in on the big stuff like not marrying for convenience.

        Reply
  11. Roxana

    The thing about a Jane Austen novel is they are as full of fun as they are of angst. Sanditon gets less and less fun and more angry as we go along.

    Reply
  12. Lee Jones

    If people are tolerating Johnny Flynn’s bare ass in “Emma”, I might as well tolerate some aspects of “Sanditon”. Besides, it’s not as if sexual abuse or incest did not happen in the early 19th century. I’ve seen at least four episodes of it so far. It’s not perfect – certainly NOT the costumes and some of the hairstyles – but I’m hooked.

    Reply
    • Aleko

      I actually don’t particularly mind Davies putting back in the sex that Jane Austen carefully left offstage in her novels. (She didn’t actually leave it out altogether. There’s a good deal of adultery, mistress-keeping, seduction and illegitimate births going on and taken for granted in her plots – just remember in P&P when Lydia Bennet elopes with Wickham, and all the respectable ladies in the Bennets’ neighbourhood cheerfully predict that Lydia will end up as a prostitute.) I just mind that he does everything else so badly. You’d have thought by now that he and his team could produce a competent (if raunchy) Regency serial in their sleep; but the dialogue was painfully inauthentic (e.g. Mrs Palmer referring to her husband as ‘Tom’ to everyone, and saying ‘Did you find anything impressive… shell-wise?’; the hero was downright nasty; and the plot was full of holes and anachronisms (e.g. a doctor performing surgery!).

      Reply
  13. Aleko

    The heroine’s wearing her hair down all the time except at the ball really bugged me. If she isn’t old enough to put her hair up ALL THE TIME in company, she’s not old enough to go to a ball.

    Her father (seen in episode 1) having a beard was terrible. They presumably did it to convey how rustic the Heywoods are, but nobody, however rustic, wore beards in Regency England.

    And all those riding boots! In the three episodes I endured before giving up I didn’t see a single person riding, but almost all the gentlemen (and even the young builder, which really is ludicrous), were continually in boots. Oddly, nobody was in pantaloons, which were still iffy in 1817 in formal society but absolutely the fashionable thing for the seaside. If they thought that breeches and stockings just aren’t manly, why not pantaloons?

    Reply
  14. Maggie May

    As s a PBS subscriber, I can see Sanditon anytime. Saving it for a distraction…when I am tired of current events and want some new reasons to become vexed. I anticipate disliking sloppy hair more than anachronistic handjobs. A beard–fetch the smelling salts!

    Some interiors appear well done. A Print Room seems to be on display. Eighteenth.century ladies sometimes cut out prints and affixed them to wallpaper in pleasing patterns. Engraved frames and hangers added to the illusion. Varnish covered all.

    No, the older lady would not have worn ancient gowns. Even well off ladies would have garments made of fine fabric altered to something more modish.

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  15. ADoyle

    In one of the later episodes before I gave up, I did notice what looked like a zipper, and even said to my fiancee “Is that a zipper?” We both hate that none of the male characters has shaved, as nobody in the Regency period would have walked around with such stubble.

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  16. Roxana

    If I was going to continue Sanditon I’d have one of Sydney’s friends fall hard for Clara making her discourage Sir Edward who shifts to Charlotte as his victim while Lady Denham tries to matchmake with Miss Lambe who prefers Mr. Arthur Parker who is surprised out of his comfort zone by feelings for her. Meanwhile Charlotte and Sydney snipe at each other as Austen character do while he and his second friend squire the Beaufort sisters and Charlotte accept Sir Edward’s attentions partly out of snit at Sydney, partly out of genuine sympathy for the way Lady Denham is treating him.
    The climax would be Denham carrying out his bad intentions quite incompetently on a Charlotte who is indignant rather than frightened because of course he lacks the guts to do anything but talk garbage about his overpowering passion. They are pursued by a posse from Sanditon led by a furious and frightened Sydney leading to recriminations and declarations wherever Sir Edward and Charlotte end up, possibly Sanditon’s rival Brinson.
    Sir Edward is in disgrace. Lady Denham takes Esther into her house to save her from contamination and replace Clara who married her Swain. Charlotte and Sydney marry and settle in the old Parker house in the valley, Arthur and Miss Lambe marry too, the Beaufort sisters remain single but one has a good prospect in Sydney’s second friend and the other is in spirits because the scandal has brought many new people in to hear all the juicy details making Mr. Parker happy.

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    • Gillian Stapleton

      I read an excellent completion of Sanditon some years ago (by Jane Austen and ‘Another Lady’), and your conclusions were almost the same! Miss Lambe and Arthur pair up, Clara Brereton marries her long-time admirer, Sir Edward does an abduction on an extremely scornful and resourceful Charlotte, and Sydney chases after them.

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      • Roxana

        I’ve got to read that book. No doubt Miss Austen would have had many a twist and turn up her sleeve but continuators, IMO, should work from what she got down and try to stick to her comedy of manners style.
        They definitely should not invent subplots of incest, abuse and class conflict. Write your own darn story if you want to explore such themes!

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  17. Lily Lotus Rose

    This production is atrocious on so many levels. I agree with much of the outrage featured in the post and in the comments. However I do have something new to add about the Gaelic music! The night before seeing the first episode of Sanditon, I attended a concert by a Scottish String Quartet. Mixed in with the typical chamber music they played songs by Scottish composers including songs by a father and son from the Highlands named Nathaniel and Neal Gow. The following night I watched Sanditon. Like the reviewer, I thought the Scottish music and the Gaelic were very lovely but also very out of place. After the episode I looked it up and found this article in a Scottish newspaper called The Press and Journal, “The Lochaber Man Behind Celtic Tunes in ITV Drama Sanditon.” Apparently, the musician discovered that Nathaniel Gow family was very popular in England. So, because of Gow’s popularity in the ballrooms of England, the filmmakers included Celtic music in the show. It seems that was a rational, if seemingly left-field choice. In my opinion the music was beautiful, and apparently it was period…but man, having Celtic music in the ballroom scene really called attention to itself!

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