While Sanditon season 2 gets into the swing of things during its Friday night slot, the cast have expressed their awe over the passion, cleverness and ‘powerful’ commitment of the show’s fanbase – particularly when it comes to working out storylines.
The Jane Austen inspired period drama was infamously cancelled after one season by ITV, before a fan petition helped persuade PBS to swoop in and save it, renewing it for two further seasons with co-producer BritBox in May 2021.
Chatting with Metro.co.uk and other press, Sanditon’s cast and creatives were full of praise for the show’s fans.
Recalling shooting seasons two and three back-to-back last summer, Death In Paradise actor Kris Marshall, who plays Tom Parker, joked: ‘The fans are incredibly canny – they’re like MI6! They would have spies everywhere.
‘We were filming quite a critical scene in where the army arrived in Sanditon, and they had someone just walking their dog nearby. He used to come every day and grab screengrabs and little pictures, and zoom in. And [the fans] would extrapolate whole storylines out of this one picture. It was like, “You’re pretty close to the truth, actually!”
‘It’s amazing in a way how powerful they are. You know, they were the reason we were there in the first place, or a large part of it anyway. But you had to be so careful of what you’re doing – the moment you step out your trailer!’
Writer and executive producer Justin Young also shared an instance where fans were able to successfully manipulate a photo released online to discover a spoiler, which he admitted could have easily ‘devastated’ him.
‘The most amazing moment was when Jack Fox put a photograph of his script online, the front page, and the fans managed to somehow read through the front page – it’s high resolution – [and] sharpen the image and work out what it said and what the first scene was!’
‘It would have been easy to be devastated by it but I had to just admire their enterprise, which was so cunning.’
‘And we love them for it, but it means we’ve got to be quite careful about what we release ahead of series three,’ he added.
Ben Lloyd-Hughes, who plays Charlotte’s (Rose Williams) gruff new employer Alexander Colbourne, also reflected on the fans’ presence as a newcomer to Sanditon.
‘It’s a nice feeling to do anything where you know at least some people are going to see it. Even if it’s ten people, it’s rare that you start something knowing that there is already an audience for it. I haven’t done many things where there’s a guaranteed audience of some kind.’
Having recounted fans hiding in the bushes during shooting, lead Rose continued: ‘It’s a lovely, exciting feeling to know that there are people that are invested in the show, would watch it again, and would take the effort to come to where they found out that we were filming. I saw clips online that people would travel quite far too!’
Eloise Webb, who features as Colbourne’s headstrong niece Augusta Markham in the series, also revealed the presence of a Sanditon actors’ WhatsApp group, where a cast member shared correctly-guessed spoilers they had found online.
She revealed: ‘It gave away the entire thing and someone had guessed it by episode two and it was like, “Are we really that cliché?!”’
‘I’m not on social media, but from the Sanditon actors WhatsApp group, what people have said [is] people are amazingly astute and clever and read-up and also funny,’ said Ben.
‘And someone had predicted the very ending of the series, just straight away, kind of succinctly described it and we were all just like “Ah!”
‘Hopefully not everyone will be so savvy, but even if they are savvy, I think the journey is just as enjoyable.’
Sanditon season two continues at 9pm on Friday on ITV and is also available to stream in full on BritBox in the UK.
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