When news hit the airwaves on May 7, 2021, that Sanditon was renewed for Seasons 2 and 3, a roar of delight ascended to the heavens. Masterpiece announced with Red Planet Pictures the renewal, along with streaming with a UK partner, BritBoxUK.
However, the announcement soon became bittersweet with the news that Theo James would not return. He decided that he did not wish to reprise the role of Sidney Parker with this statement:
Although I relished playing Sidney, for me, I’ve always maintained that his journey concluded as I wanted it to. The broken fairy-tale like ending between Charlotte and Sidney is different, unique and so interesting to me, and I wish the cast and crew of Sanditon every success with the future series.
The “broken fairy tale ending” may have been unique to Theo, but frankly, it was a gut-punch to many fans, some of which turned bitter toward Masterpiece, Red Planet Pictures, and BritBoxUK with demands for his return or at least recasting. The #Sidlotte lovers wanted Charlotte’s and Sidney’s HEA no matter what the cost, but that wasn’t to be.
I think it’s important, or at least in the rational sense, to understand that actors make choices about their careers. Leo Suter, who played Young Stringer, and a few others had already made other commitments, believing that Sanditon was dead in the water (excuse the pun), so they moved on. Understandable, and the loyal who were able to accept change wished them great success with their endeavors.
For whatever reason, Theo James did not want to return, so no manner of demanding, cursing, or begging would bring him back to reprise that role. His character was not recast, which makes sense as far as I’m concerned. Instead, a new cast was announced, bringing to Sanditon new faces and new storylines that were either accepted or flatly rejected by diehard, disgruntled fans.
On July 22, 2021, the camera began to roll on the second season. Those returning are:
- Rose Williams (Charlotte)
- Anne Reid (Lady Denham)
- Kris Marhsall (Tom Parker)
- Kate Ashfield (Mary Parker)
- Crystal Clarke (Georgiana Lambe)
- Jack Fox (Edward Denham)
- Charlotte Spencer (Esther Denham)
- Lily Sacofsky (Clara Brereton)
- Turlough Convery (Arthur Parker)
- Kevin Eldon (Mr. Hankins)
- Adrian Scarborough (Dr. Fuchs)
Those joining the cast are:
- Maxim Ays (Captian William Carter)
- Ben Lloyd-Hughes (Alexander Colbourne)
- Alexander Vlahos (Charles Lockhart)
- Tom Weston-Jones (Colonel Francis Lennox
- Rosie Graham (Alison Heywood)
- Frank Blake (Captain Declan Fraser)
As an avid fan, I’ve been stalking Twitter and other social media platforms, enjoying the tidbits posted by the cast in the crew as they have diligently filmed Seasons 2 and 3, wrapping it up just before Christmas 2021. To be frank, I’m giddy with excitement and have made it a point to drown out the naysayers and Debbie Downers in fandom by praising, thanking, and supporting the actors, crew, Masterpiece PBS, Red Planet Pictures, and BritBoxUK for the miracle of renewal.
Frankly, none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the fans, who are dearly called the “Sanditon Sisterhood,” who campaigned to bring back this series with such gusto and goodness of heart, that the powers-to-be took notice. Without loyal fans, this series could have very well died an untimely death with a cruelly unfinished story with two broken-hearted individuals on a cliff.
What’s in store for Season 2 and 3? The pictures released are delightful and full of promise!
Read more at Masterpiece PBS.