It's fair to say that the series finale of Andrew Davies' Sanditon adaptation has prompted huge discussion amongst both Jane Austen fans and casual viewers alike! Fair warning, this article contains spoilers, so if you haven't yet seen the final episode and are planning to, click away now. Last chance! . . . . .
The final episode saw many of the storylines resolved, but it was Charlotte and Sidney's ending which left some viewers devastated. After finally admitting their feelings for one another, the pair parted with Sidney agreeing to keep his word and marry Eliza - a woman he doesn't love. We asked our Facebook friends for their thoughts and it's fair to say we were inundated! Here's a flavour of what people thought:
Christine said: "I loved Sanditon it was brilliant right up until the last half of episode 8, it was very disappointing that Sidney and Charlotte will not get married as they are so much in love, I really hope that there will be a second series and Sidney and Charlotte will be together and get married. I wonder want Jane would think not in pressed with the ending."
Francesca said: "The ending is immeasurably disappointing. But only the last ten minutes, everything else is wonderful."
Mary said: "Loved it, but so disappointed with the ending. It certainly kept you hoping, right to the last second that Sydney would change his mind! Just hope there is a second series and all ends well for Charlotte."
Gemma said: "I was fuming!! Had been looking forward all week to watching the final episode of Sanditon, and to watch that....I felt broken hearted for both of them! Especially poor Charlotte! Boo hoo hoo"
Colleen said: "My thoughts.... I watch a lot of shows and expect a shock, surprise or twist. Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones etc. But no Jane Austen adaptation has “jumped the shark” like this and not delivered the happy ending. There is an unwritten contract between the writer and producers with the audience. We understand there maybe twists and turns, there maybe misunderstandings but in the end (maybe even the last few minutes or so) the heroine and the hero will make it in the end together. There is a declaration of love, a wedding or an acknowledgment of their future together. It is why we all watch and why we are all fans, ravenous for these tales. Not for the way this ended, we were cheated and I feel deceived. Don’t call it Austen then. Make up a story but don’t attach her name.
Nicole said: "Worst ending ever, as a life long fan of Jane Austen I felt disappointed that the ending was so dreadful!"
Fiona said: "It felt unfinished. Loved every episode up until the ending. Very disappointing. I was very upset"
Jo said: "Hate it!!! I am proper gutted - poor Charlotte!"
Caroline said: "Loved it right up until the ending. Everything seems very rushed in the end. The ending was not Jane Austen."
Jane said: "Shock, I can hear Jane Austen spinning in her grave. Wondering what the hell they did to Sanditon"
Not all of the feedback was negative, with many people suggesting/expecting a second series:
James said: "I’ve heard so many people criticising the last episode saying its not the happy ending they expect from an Austen story. To those I advise reading her Juvenilia, full of unhappy endings, objectionable characters with questionable motives. Sanditon was Janes last story and I think her writing was starting to grow beyond the need to end a story with an obligatory wedding and ‘all’s well with the world‘ type ending. I honestly think Jane would’ve done something similar to the ending we saw."
Naomi said: "Jane Austen, always considered as an amazing english novelist. I loved this series of Sanditon. If this is the ending with Sidney sacrificing his happiness with Charlotte, I'm resolved to believe that although being divided for now, whatever the future holds for them, their love will endure. With the unknown outcome of additional story lines and the ending would suggest another series, surely."
Vasantha said: "Exceptionally traumatic....I have never reacted to so much emotion in my life in the way I did on Sunday evening. This just shows how wonderful the actors are and how real their performances. Even Pride and Prejudice didn't conjure up the emotion I am still feeling two days later. I think Andrew Davies has done a wonderful job bringing this to life in his own inimitable way, knowing that the novel was unfinished. It was an unexpectedly shocking end and has to be the best and saddest cliffhanger I have ever seen...I am living in hope for an amazing Season 2 with a classic Jane Austen ending."
Fabienne said: "Not really surprised as it was an unfinished novel and hopefully this was done purposely to have room for a second series for a happy ending for Charlotte and Miss Lamb"
Jane said: "Lady D will die and leave her money to Tom therefore allowing Sidney to get out of his engagement........ well I hope so, poor Charlotte. Next series sooooon please!"
Cate said: "Loved it! An very un-Austen ending but I really liked that about it. I really hope they do season 2 and there was no better person than the legendary Andrew Davies to take on her unfinished novel."
Holly said: "I loved the ending. I don't want another series. It showed a maturity in Austen that not all endings are happy and money & duty will win over love."
Kay said: "I thought and hoped that Sidney would chase after the coach and tell her he'd changed his mind. To be honest I was devastated, but now I think it might have left it open for another for another series. I hope!"
Myra said: "The clue was in Lady Denham's story about her lost love. And I believe a second series is planned!"
Jane said: "I really loved it, if Lord B and Esther had not got together, there would have been ABSOLUTE SCENES in my house. I was annoyed at Sidney pulling the old “you make me a better man” trope previously, it’s not just about how SHE makes YOU feel, you selfish grump. And disappointed there was no resolution to the Miss Lambe/ jolly Mr Parker relationship, I think they’d be lovely together. Very much hoping for a second season, maybe exploring more of the West Indies at the time?"
It's not too late to share how you think on our Facebook page! And if/when a second series is announced, we'll be sure to let you know!
I can’t say I was excited with the TV version of Sanditon. It borrowed so much episodes and little incidents from Jane Austen’s novels, there was not much creativeness. One example is in the final episode, where Sidney decides to marry Eliza. As the name suggests this character borrows so much from Eliza Williams in Sesnse and Sensibility. If Davies goes that far, he might as well get Eliza to ditch Sidney and decide to marry someone else, thereby freeing Sidney from marrying her for the sake of obtaining money to help his brother Tom. (I smell a second series. Why else would one leave the hero and heroine unmarried at the end of the series?)
I also had problem with Lady Denham being too avaricious, and her unaccountable rude attitudes to people including Miss Lamb, and overly sexual scenes involving Lord Denham and his sister, etc., etc. Sidney shouting at Charlotte Heywood in the street is just unthinkable! No gentleman would do that. It reminded me of Elizabeth Bennet saying to Mr. Darcy, “Had you behaved in a more gentlemanly manner.”
I think Andrew Davies should stay with TV realization of Jane Austen novels, not trying to create a story a la Jane Austen.
by A Jane Austen Fan
I too can’t understand all the hype about it. I didn’t like it at all. It was slow and boring for the most part. Like you the end of episode 7 and the beginning of episode 8 were the only parts I enjoyed. Sidney was obnoxious for the most part and I couldn’t take to him at all. Was thoroughly disappointed and I’m not looking for another series. I agree with everything you say here.
Jane Austen wrote that her romantic stories started well with a little trouble in the middle & a very good ending
I didn’t see any of this in Sanditon the only good ending was Esther’s which I did like
Right at the start of the series I read an interview with Anne Reid in which she referred to the possibility of a second series, so clearly Davies is hoping to continue clinging to Jane Austen’s petticoats. She would certainly not have allowed the old curmudgeon Stringer to ruin the hopes of the hero, heroine and his own son.
Very much hope for a second series of Sanditon in which Charlotte sees the light and marries Mr Stringer, by far the better man !
Am I really the only person who hated this series? The only episode I liked was Episode 7 and Episode 8 left me fuming! I kept watching in the hope it would get better. It never did.
Frankly the comment in the Guardian on Monday about summed it up for me. When asked what the writer thought Jane Austen would have said about this series they said “she would have turned over to Peaky Blinders after Episode 1!” Only wish I had done that. Poor Jane must be spinning in her grave!
As far as I can see there were only three good things about Sanditon – the setting – glorious Somerset; the costumes which were lovely and Anne Reid as Lady Denham.
I am returning with all haste to my beloved copy of Sanditon by Jane Austen and ‘Another Lady’ – far truer to Jane Austen than Andrew Davies’ ghastly imaginings!
I was waiting for Charlotte to come to her senses and marry Mr. Parker! He’s so much prettier and kinder than that Sidney bore. Please let that be the Christmas special denouement.