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Sanditon season 2 newcomer Ben Lloyd-Hughes and Rose Williams on his ‘megamix’ Austen leading man after Theo James’ death as Sidney

Sidney might have been killed off, but romance is still on the cards for Charlotte (Picture: ITV)

Lead actress Rose Williams and Sanditon newcomer Ben Lloyd-Hughes have opened up about the connection between Charlotte Heywood and Alexander Colbourne, as the central character’s romantic horizons are widened in season two following Sidney Parker’s shock death.

Season one of Sanditon, based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same name, saw Charlotte’s first love Sidney (Theo James) abandon her reluctantly in favour of an engagement with a former flame who had the means to save his family from ruin.

After the show was initially axed by ITV after its first season, a passionate fan campaign brought it back, courtesy of co-producer PBS Masterpiece and ITV-owned streaming service BritBox – but Divergent actor Theo opted to leave the show.

The opening of season two then killed off Sidney in rather mysterious circumstances, leaving Charlotte grieving – but handily open to new relationship prospects.

Enter smooth Colonel Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones) and Charlotte’s gruff new employer Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes), who have both – in very different ways – started to show their interest in Miss Heywood.

Calling fellow brusque literary hero who hires a governess, Charlotte Bronte’s Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre, a ‘very good reference’, Ben, 34, told and other press: ‘It was one that was referenced to me when I got the part, but I think what’s great about Colbourne is that he feels like a kind of megamix of all the best bits and worst bits of a Jane Austen leading man.

‘I relished the chance to play a character like that because, ultimately, he has shades of Rochester and lots of different characters where you’re not sure necessarily – there’s a kind of a double edge of what’s going on on the surface and what’s going on behind the eyes. And Rochester certainly has that, like a lot of different Jane Austen characters do too.’

Teasing later plot points, he added: ‘The element of hidden past and secret family history is something that definitely resonates through the series as well.’

Giving an idea of how Charlotte feels about their relationship – and how Colbourne and Charlotte relate on a different level to Sidney and Charlotte – Rose explained: ‘From Charlotte’s character perspective, she wasn’t looking for love in the first series and it happened upon her in the way that she came across Sidney Parker, and she had her first experience of young love, really falling for someone in a way and that first heartbreak.

Charlotte’s first love was Sidney Parker (Theo James), a character written by Jane Austen in her unfinished opening to the novel (Picture:ITV)

‘Then as Charlotte moves into the second series, processing the grief of losing this man that she’d fallen in love with, she definitely isn’t looking for a husband. She’s pushing back against that. Her getting the job of becoming a governess is very much wanting to angle her life into forging a path of independence. She doesn’t feel as if she can open up her heart again and yet she comes across these two men that kind of present themselves as eligible – Lennox perhaps more forwardly, Colbourne perhaps more from the audience’s eyes.

‘[They’re] lovely and very different,’ she added of her two new leading men. ‘And the connection between Charlotte and Colbourne very much comes from a place of maturity and mutual understanding, as opposed to that kind of exciting, adrenaline-led experience of love [Charlotte had with Sidney].’

Discussing saying goodbye to Theo and other actors who haven’t returned, such as Alexandra Roach as Diana Parker and Vikings: Valhalla star Leo Suter as Charlotte’s other past suitor, Young Stringer, Rose, 28, shared: ‘There was a handful that didn’t come back, which is sad, but at the same time, I’m blessed to work with this beautiful new ensemble with brand new energy, and we also shot in a lot of new locations.

‘I feel so lucky!’

Sanditon season two continues at 9pm on Friday on ITV and is also available to stream in full on BritBox in the UK.

Credit: Source

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