Two women from the 1800s sit on a couch talking.

Final season of ‘Sanditon on Masterpiece’ premieres March 19

February 27, 2023 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment

Jane Austen’s last, incomplete novel gets a glorious finish in the third and final season of Sanditon, Masterpiece’s acclaimed continuation of the story and characters created by Austen in her fascinating fragmentary work. Sanditon, season 3, wraps up the plot in six satisfying episodes airing 8 p.m. Sundays, March 19 to April 23 on PBS Wisconsin.

Set amid the romantic intrigues of an English seaside resort in the early 1800s, the first two seasons raised and dashed various matrimonial prospects for the heroines, played by Rose Williams (Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris) and Crystal Clarke (Empire of Light).

Williams appears as Charlotte Heywood, a young woman from the country whom fate has thrust into the social scene in Sanditon, which is vying to become the go-to spa for fashionable aristocrats and gentry. Although her father intends her to marry local farmer Ralph Starling (Cai Brigden, Summer of Rockets), Charlotte has attracted the attention of some of Sanditon’s most eligible bachelors – among them the enigmatic Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes, The Crown), a landowner with a mysterious past.

Clarke’s character, Georgiana Lambe, faces an entirely different problem. A mixed-race heiress from the West Indies, she can’t trust any of her suitors because in all probability they are only interested in her fortune. The two women bond over these courtship dilemmas as well as their resolve to forge their own destinies.

The returning cast includes Flora Mitchell as Colbourne’s tomboyish young daughter, Leonora, and Eloise Webb (The Queen’s Gambit) as his rebellious niece, Augusta, who falls for a questionable admirer. Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise) reprises his role as Sanditon’s tireless promoter, Tom Parker, joined by Kate Ashfield (A Confession) as his principled wife, Mary, and Turlough Convery (Les Misérables) as his ebullient brother Arthur.

Also back are Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) as the imperious Lady Denham; Jack Fox (Cheaters) as her dissolute nephew, Edward; and Sophie Winkleman (The Chronicles of Narnia) as Charlotte’s high-society friend, Lady Susan, who happens to be the king’s mistress.

Romantic possibilities this season are enhanced by new cast members, including Emma Fielding (Cranford) as the financially distressed Lady Montrose, who arrives in Sanditon to snare matches for her grown children: Lydia (Alice Orr-Ewing, The Theory of Everything), who is an independent-minded young woman; and Lord Henry Montrose (Edward Davis, Emma), a duke whose title alone is an attractive selling point, if he is perhaps less suitable in other ways. James Bolam (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) plays Rowleigh Pryce, a crusty investor whom Tom Parker is courting to bankroll a new hotel in Sanditon, subject to Lady Denham’s approval. It turns out that Pryce and Lady Denham share a very interesting past.

And there is Liam Garrigan (The Pillars of the Earth), who appears as Alexander Colbourne’s brother, Samuel, a London attorney whose legal help is crucial as the plot approaches its climax. An eligible bachelor himself, Samuel gets caught up in the Sanditon marriage market. Intrigued by this former sleepy village which has become a place of hidden passions, he eyes a new female acquaintance and muses, “There are so many interesting things going on in Sanditon that require careful observation.”

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