*Sanditon season 3 spoilers below*
Ben Lloyd-Hughes, who plays Sanditon, has said that he and co-star Rose Williams were anxious about how their love story would play out on the historical drama’s last season.
After a pretty convoluted turn of events, the Jane Austen-inspired programme, based from her unfinished novel of the same name, is returning for its third and final season.
Lloyd-Hughes joined the cast as brooding new hero Alexander Colbourne ahead of season two, providing his own vibe after original leading man Theo James, who played Sidney Parker, left Sanditon after its initial axing after only one season (it was later resurrected for the most part thanks to its devoted fanbase).
Sidney features in Austen’s fragment, as does Charlotte Heywood (Williams’ character and the main character), with the famous author implying that the two would end up together.
Following the departure of White Lotus star James, Lloyd-Hughes was brought onboard as a wholly new hero created by the show’s writers to appear in the final two seasons, which were filmed back-to-back.
The actor, who has previously been in the TV programmes Industry and The Crown, has now stated that he predicted Colbourne and Charlotte’s relationship.
‘The director, Charles Sturridge, said to me – and this was at the beginning of season two, I’d just got the part – “Congratulations, you get the girl, you’re the hero ultimately.” So I knew that was where we were going,’ he said.
Eager to immerse himself in the role, Lloyd-Hughes recalled asking for ‘as much info and backstory as I could on Alexander Colbourne’.
‘I got this amazing little brochure of everything that had happened to him written by [head writer and producer] Justin Young, and everything that was going to happen, so I could really see the arc.’
‘So, I was aware of – maybe not the minutiae – but of where we would finally end up, [as well as that] at the end of series two there’d be a departure and this idea of Charlotte getting engaged,’ he explained.
However, uncertainty broke in both Lloyd-Hughes and Charlotte actor Williams when they both felt they’d been informed something unexpected about the trajectory of their characters.
‘There was a miscommunication between me and Rose, we heard a rumour that [Colbourne] and Charlotte got engaged – and we were very confused, because we thought, “Well, where’s the dramatic tension in that?”’
Luckily, it was subsequently put right in their minds.
‘It turned out that it was [Charlotte becoming] engaged to Cai [Bridgen]’s character!’ Lloyd-Hughes said, which is shown in the final scene of season two after Charlotte and Colbourne break away from each other following a (classic) Austen misunderstanding.
Charlotte returns to her family property and marries Ralph Stirling (Brigden), the lad her father had long admired.
However, by season three, Charlotte and Colbourne had finally found their happily ever after despite presuming for the majority of the season that the other was engaged to someone else.
According to Lloyd-Hughes, getting to those last scenes together was “amazing and satisfying.”
‘It was certainly something that I knew would happen, but it didn’t stop it still feeling so poignant, because it had been such a long filming process – and for Rose in particular.’
During the last season, the viewer is also introduced to Colbourne’s estranged brother Samuel, a lawyer, when he seeks his assistance in assisting Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) (and, by extension, her best friend Charlotte, *ahem*) with her court issue involving her inheritance.
What did you think of the conclusion of Colbourne and Charlotte’s narrative on Sanditon?Now is the time to comment.
Enter actor Liam Garrigan, who has also appeared in The Terror, 24: Live Another Day and fairytale series Once Upon A Time, as King Arthur.
Lloyd-Hughes was thrilled to have the ‘new injection of energy and life’ that Garrigan brought to the show ‘so brilliantly’ as the slightly irreverent Samuel.
‘And it just added another layer to Alexander that we hadn’t seen before – this tension in him, that he doesn’t know how to behave because he’s this new, improved Alexander Colbourne 2.0, having been inspired by Charlotte Heywood,’ the star added.
‘But the reintroduction of his brother into his life kind of brings him back into the old Colbourne, and he doesn’t really know how to bring the two together.’
Lloyd-Hughes compared Colbourne’s experience merging his new (but actually, old) family with his Sanditon circle to the Robin Williams film Mrs Doubtfire, “where you’re running in-between two rooms.”
‘You’re not sure who you are anymore. I think the scripts and the dialogue showed that really well.’
Augusta Markham (Eloise Webb), Colbourne’s niece and ward, is also experiencing her first season ‘out’ in society as an adult, having previously been considered a child in need of a governess, alongside Colbourne’s own young daughter, Leonora (Flora Mitchell).
‘I certainly feel young to be a kind of parental figure to someone that age!’ Lloyd-Hughes admitted. ‘But of course, it’s not his daughter, and so he’s kind of been thrust into this situation. And especially in Jane Austen’s time, you would be a parental figure or a father that young.’
He’s also lauded co-star Webb, whom he refers to as “Weezy,” for her “energy and vibes.”
Augusta embarks on a perilous romance with local bad boy Sir Edward Denham during Sanditon season three, who is on a mission to prove to Sanditon that he’s changed his ways after attempting to poison his step-sister (as well as behaving very badly to the mother of his child he’s had out of wedlock – an absolute scandal in those days).
Colbourne is now in charge of trying to direct Augusta while navigating his own love journey with a good amount of turbulence.
‘That was a storyline that came across a bit later in terms of the planning, so I didn’t know exactly that was going to happen until later on – and I was aware of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ elements of the character, but also a genuine affection and protection for Eloise, who I’d come to be really fond of.’
He shared that it was ‘very easy to play that’, as well as ‘that feeling [that] it comes out in anger and frustration’.
‘We saw in series two as well – he is reacting to how he thinks society is. He’s in a way, actually, a modern man. It’s not that he thinks that doing any kind of public displays of affection before marriage is completely wrong; it’s that he’s aware of how your reputation can be ruined.
‘He’s trying to protect her from other people’s discrimination and prejudices, not necessarily his own.’
Sanditon season 3 is available to stream now in full on ITVX.
Source My Celebrity Life.