Sanditon's Theo James makes surprise announcement - and fans are devastated

Theo played Sidney Parker in the drama

Theo James has announced he will not reprise his role as Sidney Parker in the upcoming second and third series of Sanditon.

The news was shared on the Masterpiece PBS official Instagram account alongside an image of the actor in costume with a statement reading: "Although I relished playing Sidney, for me, I've always maintained that his journey concluded as I wanted it to.

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"The broken fairy-tale like ending between Charlotte and Sidney is different, unique and so interesting to me and I wish the cast and crew of Sanditon every success with future series."

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WATCH: Lady Frederick Windsor talks series two of Sanditon

Theo's departure from the show comes as a blow to fans who were on a high from Wednesday's news that Sanditon would be returning for series two and three. Many branded the news a "disappointment" in the comments underneath the post on Instagram.

One person wrote in response to the news: "Bahahaha well this ruins the good news of the show coming back." A second said: "And immediately the shows excitement goes away..." A third said: "Him and Charlotte WERE the show. This is disappointing."

Earlier in the week, it was confirmed that Sanditon would be returning in the future despite ITV cancelling the period drama in 2019.

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Theo announced he would not return to the show for the new series

The official Instagram account for the ITV and PBS programme said: "You are cordially invited to return to the finest seaside resort... #Sanditon WILL RETURN for a second AND third series on @masterpiecepbs, @britbox_uk & @itv! Head to the link in our bio to find out more."

Red Planet Pictures, the production company behind the programme, has outlined a synopsis for the new episodes on its website. It reads: "The drama will continue to follow the high-spirited and independent heroine, Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams, Curfew) as she returns to the picturesque coastal resort of Sanditon.

"Charlotte's journey is one thread of an intricate tapestry of compelling stories full of intrigue, excitement, and romance. Against the backdrop of beautiful vistas, familiar faces return and new inhabitants are introduced – all of whom will be having adventures as joyous and surprising as the seaside town itself." 

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