Brean could be set for a big tourism boost as millions of TV viewers have this week been seeing the village’s beach in the background of a new Jane Austen series.

The first episode of ITV1’s new Sunday night drama, Sanditon, which included many scenes of Brean beach as the backdrop, was watched by 3.3 million viewers.

The eight-episode series features the well-known author’s final and incomplete novel. It is being broadcast on TV channels around the world, including in North America.

“Sedgemoor District Council was contacted back in January and suggested either Berrow or Brean beach for the seaside shots in the eight-part series,” said a council spokesperson this week.

“After the production company visited both locations, they decided to use Brean as the backdrop to the series.”

ITV first began shooting scenes for the new series on Brean beach at the start of this year and the final scenes were shot over the summer.

Brean Parish Council, which oversees the beach, approved the filming and says it hopes the show will raise the profile of the resort.

Trevor Hicks, Chairman, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Brean Parish Council was delighted to host the filming of Sanditon earlier in the year and that the beautiful beach at Brean has been showcased on the programme. We hope that many more visitors will come to enjoy the area as a result of the programme being aired.”

Sarah Horwood from Discover Brean added: “The filming of Sanditon has caused a great deal of interest, and raised the profile of Brean to those who may never have heard of us.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be the beach location for a prime time ITV drama. We wish the programme every success and hope Sanditon fans will want to visit the area, boosting local tourism.”

“We were very pleased to accommodate the Sanditon crew and hope they’ll come back for a second series. We’ve certainly enjoyed seeing the familiar scenes of Brean Beach and Brean Down on TV!”

Sanditon was written just months before Jane Austen’s death in 1817. In the story, Sanditon is a fishing village trying to reinvent itself as a seaside resort and the locals whose fortunes depend on its commercial success.

The ITV series features Kris Marshall from the movie Love Actually, plus Curfew‘s Rose Williams, Downton Abbey‘s Theo James and Last Tango in Halifax‘s Anne Reid. The series is being headed up by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose credits include Les Misérables and Pride and Prejudice.

Screenwriter Andrew Davies said: “Jane Austen managed to write only a fragment of her last novel before she died – but what a fragment! Sanditon tells the story of the transformation of a sleepy fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, with a spirited young heroine, a couple of entrepreneurial brothers, some dodgy financial dealings, a West Indian heiress, and quite a bit of nude bathing. It’s been a privilege and a thrill for me to develop Sanditon into a TV drama for a modern audience.”

ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill commented: “It’s a rich, romantic, family saga built upon the foundations Jane Austen laid. There is no one better to adapt her unfinished novel than Andrew who has an incredible track record for bold and original adaptations.”

Sanditon continues on ITV1 on Sundays at 9.00pm.