Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Charlotte Spencer Left Sanditon

Fans of "Sanditon" will soon be heading back to the village by the sea one last time with the third and final season of the Masterpiece drama to hit screens in March 2023. Masterpiece executive producer Susanne Simpson said (via Deadline), "While we are sad to say goodbye to the series, we know our audience has a lot to look forward to in this new season."

The series is based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name, but the ending for these characters is still a complete mystery for those who have read the book. According to Deadline, Austen's novel is incomplete because the legendary author only wrote 11 chapters before her death, leaving showrunner Justin Young and the rest of the crew to finish the story on the small screen. So, many will be on the edge of their seats wondering if Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) and Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) will live happily ever after despite her current engagement to farmer Ralph Starling (Cai Bridgen). But there is one prominent character that won't be taking a final bow in Season 3.

According to TVLine, Lady Esther Babington (Charlotte Spencer) will not be returning for the final season, and that means a new small-screen adventure is on the horizon for Spencer.

Spencer's next project focuses on true crime in another decade

Charlotte Spencer is leaving the 1800s for the 1980s. According to BBC, she will join "Downton Abbey" star Hugh Bonneville in "The Gold," a crime drama based on a real-life robbery that happened at a security depot near Heathrow Airport in 1983. Filming for the new BBC and Paramount + series began in London in April 2022, with Premiere Date reporting that the show will air in 2023.

It will be interesting to see Spencer take on drama in a new decade, but does this mean that Lady Esther's story will be left unfinished? "Sanditon" showrunner Justin Young told Decider that this is not the case at all. "...I think she's got everything she's ever wanted. She's happy, married, and now she has a child that she adores so I think that's the end of Esther's story as far as I'm concerned," he said.

It's not the first time that a prominent character has left the show; fans would recall the departure of Sidney Parker (Theo James) in Season 1. In a statement released on the Masterpiece and PBS Twitter, James said the decision best suited his character. And when it comes to making finite storylines, Young told Decider that it's totally fine for these characters. "So when their stories are done, rather than just having them in the kind of ensemble treading water, I'd rather just say that's the end of their story and they move on and we bring new characters in."