47 thoughts on “Outsourced Sanditon (2019) Recaps – Episode 1

  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

    2. “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.

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

      2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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!

          1. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.”

      1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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!).

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  17. 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!

    1. I was just confused by hearing what I’m pretty sure was part of Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo” in the first episode. Was I imagining this?

      1. I was just realizing that the snippet I heard was actually taken from a Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts”. It wasn’t written until the mid-1800s, though.

        1. And it wasn’t “Rodeo”, it was “Appalachian Spring”. Sorry. Stayed up too late watching “Sanditon”.

  18. Where does Charlotte get all of those gowns, and who does her hair? She is from a humble family and travels with one trunk which is a magic bottomless trunk with an infinite supply of gowns.

    At the later scene where she and Sidney rescue Georgiana she goes to London with only her purse and after a near-rape and rescue runs around London the same evening, goes on a chase up to nearly the Scotland border during which it becomes broad daylight and gets back in time for a ball that evening, miraculously acquiring a fancy gown with an elaborate hairstyle.

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