‘Sanditon showrunner reveals he turned to Darcy & Wickham for Colbourne & Lennox

sandit Season 2 episode 3 finally directs the Masterpiece on PBS show straight into the realm of Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice. We’ve known for a while now that Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) would find herself courted by two dashing new characters in sandit Season 2: War hero Colonel Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones) and reclusive widower Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes). Just when it looks like Colbourne is starting to thaw around our Miss Heywood, Lennox drops a bombshell on Charlotte’s lap. There seems to be some bad blood between men over a woman… and it seems that sandit leans heavily into the tropes of Mr. Wickham vs. Austen’s Mr. Darcy.

sandit is, of course, based on Jane Austen’s last unfinished novel. Season 1 used existing drafts of the early chapters to set up a lush, romantic soap opera. Season 2 is all about giving the show’s beloved heroine, Charlotte, a happy ending. Ever since Season 1 star Theo James refused to return as Charlotte’s love interest Sidney Parker, Young has created the Austen-esque Lennox and Colbourne to be his new beaus. Now that Lennox, the charismatic Redcoat, speaks ill of Colbourne, the brooding gentleman, in Charlotte, it seems that sandit indeed based the two characters on Pride and Prejudice arguing over Wickham and Darcy.

sandit Season 2 showrunner Justin Young recently confirmed to Decider that they noticed the similarities between the two storylines and were a little worried about how fans of the show would jump on them.

“We thought, ‘Oh, is this too familiar?’ And the thing is, the audience is so smart. We know they know the kind of conventions,” Young said. “So in a way you’re always trying to subvert them. It’s a difficult balance. You don’t want to subvert them to the point where the audience is like, “Well, that’s not why we came here. But at the same time, you don’t want it to be totally predictable.”

Charlotte and Colbourne in Sanditon Season 2 Episode 3
Photo: PBS

sandit Star Ben Lloyd-Hughes shared that he was “obviously very aware of Austen’s tropes and it would be a lie if the same sort of parallel didn’t come to mind as well.”

“Granted, when I first met Justin, he said we were looking at a lot of Jane Austen tropes like Jane Austen herself did in her book in terms of the type of characters or similar stories,” Lloyd-Hughes said, before revealing that it wasn’t something he co-star Tom Weston-Jones had particularly worked to echo in their performances. Lloyd-Hughes explained that, ironically, the two leading men in sandit Season 2 didn’t have too many scenes together. He and Weston-Jones leaned on this fact in their performances when they were on episodes together.

“[Colbourne] didn’t really meet Lennox that many times in reality,” Lloyd-Hughes said. “So there was an ease to that in the sense of using the reality of what it was for Ben Lloyd-Hughes and for Tom Weston-Jones, if that makes sense.”

However, sandit fans might be telling themselves now not to trust Lennox and only swoon over Colbourne (since it’s Wickham who’s lying about Darcy in Pride and Prejudice). But perhaps they should retain this hypothesis. For now, at least.

“So I think there are ways that, yeah, it sort of mirrors, like you say Darcy/Wickham,” Young said. “But I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

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