Sanditon Season 1 Recap: Character by Character

Need a quick refresher on all the characters and their stories from Season 1 of Sanditon? We waited two years for Season 2, after all! Here’s a handy recap to remind you of all the spirited women, heart breakers, and fortune hunters returning to Sanditon.

Note: the following contains significant Season 1 spoilers. 

  1. 1.

    Charlotte Heywood

    Who is She? Charlotte is the leading lady in this story. A headstrong heroine who’s no pushover, Charlotte is eager to be involved in Sanditon’s development and with the people in it.

    What You Need to Know: A chance encounter brings Charlotte to the seaside town where she wins “most liked by all.” The one man who confounds her is Sidney Parker, brother of the resort town’s developer. While Charlotte is candid, Sidney is aloof and unknowable; it takes a while for them to understand each other. When they finally do, sparks fly! Sidney reveals his desire to propose, but resorts to marrying a wealthy widow so the bankrupt Sanditon project might be saved.

    Where We Left Her: We left Charlotte in tears as a carriage takes her from Sanditon back to her family home.

  2. 2.

    Miss Georgiana Lambe

    Actor Crystal Clarke as Miss Georgiana Lambe in Sanditon Season 1 on PBS MASTERPIECE.

    Who is She? Georgiana is a West Indian heiress. Willful and unruly, she often speaks her truth intending to stir up trouble.

    What You Need to Know: Since her father’s death, Georgiana is the ward of Sidney Parker. Sidney ships her and a governess from London to Sanditon, hoping to nix the teenager’s romance with a free Black man named Otis Molyneaux. Georgiana detests being treated as a curiosity in the small town. With new BFF Charlotte’s help, Georgiana writes Otis and arranges secret liaisons. When a man to whom Otis owes money intercepts one of those letters, a clandestine meet-up becomes a big-time kidnapping.

    Where We Left Her: Georgiana is rescued and back in Sanditon but shattered by doubts of Otis’s true affection. Did he love her or her money?

  3. 3.

    Tom and Mary Parker

    Actors Kris Marshall as Tom Parker and Kate Ashfield as Mary Parker in Sanditon on PBS MASTERPIECE.

    Who are They? The Parkers are a gregarious couple who live with their passel of children in Sanditon. Tom has a natural affability, with an eagerness that’s rarely dented. Kind and patient, Mary grounds Tom and focuses his grand ideas.

    What You Need to Know: Tom’s ardent dream is to transform the town into a resort destination; Mary has little choice but to share his vision. He is under constant pressure to please Sanditon’s biggest investor, Lady Denham, and attract additional interest to the town. But Tom’s builders aren’t being paid and his loans are over extended. He overpromises to any and everyone, including his beloved wife. Meanwhile, Mary welcomes Charlotte Heywood as the Parkers’ guest and delights in having another woman around for gab sessions.

    Where We Left Them: After a disastrous building fire, it’s revealed Tom hadn’t insured the work. The Parkers’ financial ruin is saved only when Sidney Parker proposes to a wealthy young widow instead of Charlotte. And we leave Tom and Mary’s marriage tested by a husband’s lack of transparency.

  4. 4.

    Lady Denham

    Who is She? Lady Denham is Sanditon’s indomitable grande dame. Her vast wealth and self-opinion make her a truth-teller. She says what she means and rarely keeps opinions to herself. 

    What You Need to Know: The widowed Lady Denham sits on quite the fortune, presiding over the staggering Sanditon Estate. She’s the principal investor in Tom Parker’s development project and never lets him forget it. While allowing her poorest relation Clara Brereton to bunk with her, Lady Denham treats the young woman disdainfully. With no intention of expiring any time soon, she’s nonplussed by the twisted rivalry for her favor among her potential heirs—Clara as well as stepsiblings Esther and Edward Denham.

    Where We Left Her: Lady Denham bounces back from what looked like a terminal illness, thwarting a scheme concocted by last-minute partners Clara and Edward to co-inherit. Both are banished by their aunt.

  5. 5.

    Esther and Edward Denham

    Actors Charlotte Spencer as Esther Denham and Jack Fox as Edward Denham in Sanditon on PBS MASTERPIECE.

    Who are They?  You’ll remember this pair as the stepsiblings who are far too close. Edward is a handsome sycophant with an eye for women and extravagance. Esther is astonishingly frank—the queen of withering put downs.

    What You Need to Know: Edward’s dad married Esther’s mom when they were kids. As adults, the stepsiblings share a home and a less-than-healthy bond. Sis is deeply “into” Edward, while he’s focused on ingratiating himself to his aunt. His allegiance swerves from Esther to Clara Brerteon when it suits him. Learning Edward and Clara teamed up to burn Lady Denham’s will, Esther spills all to the aunt who appears conked out on her deathbed. Finally aware of Edward’s deceits, Esther also allows herself to fall for the well-off Lord Babington, who’s pursued her despite her indifference.

    Where We Left Them: Esther triumphs as the sole remaining Denham heir. As if that’s not enough, she accepts Lord Babington’s proposal, and we see them (very) happily wed.

  6. 6.

    Clara Brereton

    Actress Lily Sacofsky as Clara Brereton in Sanditon Season 1 on PBS MASTERPIECE.

    Who is She? Clara is Lady Denham’s poorest relation. While presenting herself as sweet and subservient, she’s ruthless when it comes to securing her future.

    What You Need to Know: Clara’s gritty background makes her determined to inherit some (if not all!) of Lady Denham’s fortune. She has no shame in flaunting her sexuality to manipulate Edward, who’s first in line to acquire the Denham estate. When Lady Denham falls seriously ill, Clara locates the hidden will, which reveals the relations get zilch. She and Edward burn the document and then she seduces him, gaining concessions for a growing portion of his inheritance.

    Where We Left Her: Clara winds up banished by Lady Denham and seems sorry, not sorry. Awaiting a carriage back to London, she spies a very tipsy Edward. “I had nothing to lose,” she tells him. “But you’ve lost everything. Look at you, alone and unloved. …I will spare you a thought now and then. I know you will think of me.” Is this woman to be trusted?

  7. 7.

    Arthur Parker

    Actor Turlough Convery as Arthur Parker in Sanditon Season 1 on PBS MASTERPIECE.

    Who is He? The youngest of three Parker brothers, Arthur is a goofy hypochondriac who loves wine and toast far more than exerting himself in any way. While he appears to be something of a buffoon, we may yet be surprised.

    What You Need to Know: Living with his sister Diana, Arthur isn’t married and seems in no rush to be. He befriends Georgiana Lambe early on, applauding her gumption. Arthur is the Parker’s biggest cheerleader. He’s excited by Sanditon’s prospects, knowing nothing of brother Tom’s nor Sidney’s burdens in the development project.

    Where We Left Him: Arthur reassures his sister that as a lifelong bachelor, he’ll always be there for her. “Love and marriage, it’s not my style of things at all,” he tells her. “I don’t really know how ladies work.”

  8. 8.

    Sanditon Season 1 Recap

    Catch up on the loves found and lost, beaches and balls, and characters from Season 1 of Sanditon, a bold and lavish adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished final book.


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