The third and final season of the popular and (mostly) critically acclaimed Sanditon is back on BritBox. Some believe its the best season yet of the historical drama.
Adapted from an unfinished manuscript by Jane Austen, who died in 1817 before she could finish it, the scene is set in a British seaside town at a time of social change.
“Every box is ticked off to great satisfaction or dull predictability depending on where you stand on the period drama tolerance scale,” writes Chitra Ramaswamy in The Guardian, adding that it features a “top-notch ensemble cast…”
One of those is Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte. In season 3, she returns to Sanditon with her fiancé in tow but is forced to come to terms with her unresolved feelings for Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes).
With weddings and failed engagements, will the Sanditon residents all find true love and happiness after all?
Here’s Rose Williams with the answers to some important questions.
Can you refresh viewers on where we left off with Charlotte at the end of season 2 and where we find her at the beginning of season 3? She’s in a relationship with Ralph…
At the end of season two, we found Charlotte at her sister Alison’s wedding where she is celebrating with her family, the Parkers and Georgiana. She’d been avoiding telling them of her recent engagement to Ralph Stirling, as she knew her dearest friends would be surprised at her decision to settle down in the same manner as her parents.
She has always loved Ralph; they grew up together and their engagement was described as a “forgone conclusion” by her father. Despite her experiences in the town of Sanditon, taste of adventure and expanded horizons, she felt a responsibility to protect her family with a decision that would benefit them. She is abandoning her desire for independence, adventure, and true love – a common sacrifice for a woman in her position.
What are some of the big events that happen in season 3 (if you can describe without spoilers)? There are so many to choose from; from parties, an engagement, to a court case and a long lost relative. There is so much to look forward to!
Who are some of the new characters we’ll be meeting in season 3, and what brings them to Sanditon?
In season 3 we meet the Montrose family. Wonderfully played by Emma Fielding, Alice Orr Ewing, and Edward Davies. They are high society visitors to the town, a mother obsessed with matchmaking and her rebellious and reluctant son and daughter.
We also meet Alexander Colbourne’s estranged brother Samuel, a hedonistic London lawyer portrayed by the fabulous Liam Garrigan.
Charlotte is constantly torn between following her head and heart, can you explain how this speaks to her character in relation to Colbourne and Ralph?
Charlotte is suffering with deep internal conflict across season three. She feels a responsibility to her family and to Ralph, but a knowingness that she’ll be giving up a potential life filled with adventure and finding a partner that would intellectually stimulate and challenge her.
She let herself fall for Colbourne for a moment, through a kinship and level of shared emotional experience, but quickly decided after being stung by his emotional unavailability that she must resign herself to the idea of true love.
She is telling herself that following her heart will only lead to it breaking, so she must not act on instinct and move forward according to her family’s wishes.
How is Charlotte’s deep friendship with Georgiana challenged in season 3?
Georgiana and Charlotte are both navigating their positions in society. Georgiana is coming into her inheritance, moving through the pressure, implications, and challenges of having such riches. She’s also dealing with the complexity of moving through Regency England’s twisted legal system, her position as an heiress, a woman of colour, and being unmarried.
These are challenges Charlotte, and the Parkers can only begin to understand. Charlotte is moving through the reality of having no riches, and the need to marry for the financial security of her family. They both deep down reject the societal pressure to marry for the sake of security yet are pushed into corners unable to escape those pressures.
They both wish for each other’s true happiness yet become frustrated on behalf of each other’s pain, leading to a conflict, ultimately with a foundation of love.
You’ve lived with this character for a few years now. How has your character changed since season one?
Charlotte has changed immensely from season one. We met a farmer’s daughter with dreams of adventure, who became enchanted and forever changed by characters and experiences worlds apart
from her upbringing. She’s experienced deep heartbreak, learnt about the cruel realities of the world, and decided in confidence on her true values. By the end of season three she deeply knows who she is and has decided she’d like to live her life on her own terms.