Did Mark Stanley’s Lord Babington Leave Sanditon?

As season 1 of ‘Sanditon‘ ends, fans of the period drama TV series rejoice when Esther chooses to marry the well-mannered Lord Babington (Mark Stanley) and decides to leave her wretched half-brother. While another summer in the seaside resort commences in season 2, she returns as Lady Babington to visit her aunt. However, everyone wonders whether her doting husband shall be following her to Sanditon as well. Let’s find out more about Lord Babington, shall we? SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Happened to Lord Babington?

In the first episode of the inaugural season, Sidney Parker returns to the beach town of Sanditon with his two wealthy friends, Lord Babington and Mr. Crowe. He brings them along in the hopes of convincing them to invest and indulge in the resort and thus, help his brother Tom with the finances. As Lord Babington and Mr. Crowe mingle with the townsfolk, the former instantly gets intrigued by Esther Denham at the Sanditon Ball and dances with her.

Esther’s aunt, the affluent Lady Denham, approves of Lord Babington as a potential suitor for her niece and pushes her to respond to him. However, unbeknownst to anyone, the young lady is in love with her cunning step-brother Edward Denham, who severely manipulates her for his benefit.

Meanwhile, Lord Babington tries his best to woo Esther, despite her cold and indifferent demeanor towards him. Although she is smitten with Edward, she gets dejected when he suggests they look for different life partners to obtain Lady Denham’s inheritance. Forced by her aunt and by Edward’s harshness, Esther responds to Lord Babington’s letter and agrees to go for an afternoon outing with him.

Lord Babington manages to impress Esther, and she gradually realizes that she rather enjoys his company and witty nature, which is a total contrast to Edward’s cunning and dismissive ways. Although she considers the bright future Lord Babington offers her, her step-sibling sways her mind yet again by making false promises of togetherness. Thus, when Lord Babington intends to continue their courtship, Esther impulsively rejects him, despite questioning Edward’s intentions.

Image Credit: Simon Ridgway/ITV

Later, when Edward and Clara team up to deceive a bedridden Lady Denham, Esther discovers their betrayal and is rather taken aback by her secret lover’s cruelty. Thus, she exposes them to their aunt, who surprisingly recovers from her ailment and banishes Clara and Edward from her life and wealth. Luckily, Lord Babington still feels for Esther and steps forward by taking her for a carriage ride. There, he hands the reins of the horses to her, which is symbolic of his respect for her.

Lord Babington not just understands the tortured soul that lies beneath Esther’s hard exterior but also wishes to give her the happiness and security she deserves. She too begins admiring his gentle behavior and how he makes her laugh. In the eighth episode of season 1, they attend the Midsummer Ball together. But Edward arrives and causes a massive scene when he publicly reveals his illicit affair with Esther. He then forces her to admit her feelings, much to her dismay.

While Sidney throws Edward out, a heartbroken Esther is subjected to the scrutiny of the townsfolk and anticipates that Lord Babington might shun her. Much to her surprise, he pays no heed to society and proposes to her out of his loyal love for her. Esther happily accepts, and the couple gets married and departs Sanditon.

As season 2 begins, she returns to town as a happily married woman and to live with her aunt. Unfortunately, she divulges that she had a miscarriage at five months and that she and Lord Babington are trying hard to have a child again. Meanwhile, the townsfolk and Lady Denham are curious to know where Esther’s husband is. Could the character be absent because the actor has left the show? Here is what we know.

Did Mark Stanley Leave Sanditon?

Unfortunately, Mark Stanley won’t be reprising the role of Lord Babington as he has exited ‘Sanditon.’ In an interview in September 2021, the makers disclosed that the actor won’t be returning to the show due to the schedules clashing with his other projects. Moreover, the character’s story arc was given a rather satisfactory conclusion in season 1 when he marries Esther.

Even though the chances are bleak that Mark will return to the historical drama, the possibility cannot be fully ruled out. In case he and the makers change their minds in the future, Lord Babington might be seen in ‘Sanditon’ again beside his beloved wife, Esther. After quitting the show, Mark bagged the role of Frank in the movie ‘Elizabeth is Missing.’

Read More: Who is the Father of Clara’s Baby in Sanditon? Theories