Even though fans here in the U.S. are still deep in the start of our mourning period for Downton Abbey, which just wrapped up its six year run on Masterpiece, creator Julian Fellowes’ next project is already here.
His first post-Downton project is (no surprise) also a splashy period piece called Doctor Thorne. The three-part drama, adapted from the Anthony Trollope novel of the same name, kicked off on ITV in the UK this past weekend, and looks like a lot of fun. The ensemble cast is full of familiar faces, including Rev’s Tom Hollander, Deadwood’s Ian McShane, Community’s Allison Brie and more.
The story centers around (surprise) the titular Dr. Thorne (Hollander), who lives with his penniless niece Mary (played by Stefanie Martini). Mary has grown up alongside the Gresham family, whose house – Greshamsbury Park, totally not an over the top name at all – dominates the county. Of course Mary falls in love with young Frank Gresham (Harry Richardson), but his mother Lady Arabella (Rebecca Front) would really prefer he marry a rich, young heiress from America (Brie), since his family really needs her money in order to keep their home. (Surprise, his father has frittered away the family fortune.)
Steve November, who heads up the Drama division at UK network ITV, said that Doctor Thorne presents a “rich and multi-layered story of class and social standing and a timeless love story”, so it basically sounds perfect for Fellowes (and for viewers who love Fellowes’ work).
Watch the trailer below:
Fellowes, as it turns out, is apparently a big fan of Trollope’s writing, and adapted the script himself.
A U.S. airdate – or broadcast network, come to that – has yet to be announced for Doctor Thorne. But, with what feels like dozens of networks jumping into the world of broadcasting British drama and looking for “the next Downton Abbey” it seems highly unlikely this snazzy series won’t find a home somewhere.
You kind of can’t beat the pedigree, after all, and it’s something to tide Fellowes fans over until he ever manages to figure out when he’s going to get around to finally making his long-rumored U.S. period drama The Gilded Age. (Keep the faith, people. I believe!)
What would you like to see Fellowes tackle next?