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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

While you were sleeping. . .

It’s the start of a new month, and thus the perfect time to update some old stories:

* All dressed up: Over the summer, New York bridal-gown designer Jennyvi Dizon offered free Austen-inspired gowns to Janeites willing to model her creations at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s Annual General Meeting in Chicago last month.

The results – including a set of three gowns inspired by the Dashwood sisters of Sense and Sensibility – can now be seen on her blog, and very lovely they are, too, at least to my untutored eye.

Dizon appears to have thoroughly enjoyed her first AGM, and she’s already soliciting business from anyone who wants a custom-made gown – not a freebie this time, presumably -- for next fall’s gathering in Victoria, British Columbia. If you’re interested, you can email her at

* Strictly Done Dancing: Greg Wise, every Janeite’s favorite Willoughby in the 1995 Ang Lee film of Sense and Sensibility, was cut last month from the pro-am reality-TV show Strictly Come Dancing, the British precursor of Dancing with the Stars.

Competing in honor of his late sister, Wise made it through the first three weeks but blew it in the fourth, with a samba performed to “La Macarena,” that ubiquitous ear-Velcro of the ‘90s.

You know you’re in trouble when the judge who said, "It was like having a bath with your socks on -- it was a bit uncomfortable," isn’t delivering the harshest verdict. (That would be from the judge who told Wise, “It did look like you'd just come out of a double hip-replacement operation.”)

Good sport that he is, Wise said he felt “unbelievably privileged” to have competed on the show. And this despite going down to defeat while dressed in pastel-blue trousers and a ruffled blouse. A class act, that guy.

* Mark your calendar: PBS announced last month that the second season of Sanditon, the series based ever-so-loosely on the novel Jane Austen left unfinished at her death, will premiere . . . drumroll, please . . . on March 20 of next year. (Coincidentally -- or not -- that puts the broadcast smack dab in the middle of the second week of SandiCon, the fan convention scheduled for next year in London and Bristol, England.)

As blog readers will recall, the eight-episode first season of Sanditon aired in the UK and the US in 2019-20 and, after low-ish ratings and mediocre reviews, was canceled. A passionate online fanbase persuaded PBS to renew the series for two additional seasons, but the hype wasn’t enough to lure back several of the stars, including Theo James, who played the resident heartthrob.

Sanditon left Jane Austen’s fragment behind somewhere in the middle of Episode 1, and by now any Austen link is purely notional. Still, it’s hard for me to resist anything marketed as an Austen spinoff, so I fear I’ll end up trudging through the new season. And I didn’t even like the first one! Such is the power of Janeite obsession.

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