While Downton Abbey is preparing for its final season on the UK’s ITV, creator Julian Fellowes will be returning to the network with a new drama to begin shooting later this year. Fellowes is to adapt Anthony Trollope’s Victorian era novel Doctor Thorne as a three-part drama. Hat Trick Productions is producing with Mark Redhead (Critical) and Fellowes exec producing with Chris Kelly and Ted Childs.
The story centers on Dr Thomas Thorne, who lives in the village of Greshamsbury with his beautiful niece, Mary, a girl blessed with every gift except money. She has grown up alongside the Gresham sisters — Augusta, Beatrice and Alexandrina and their handsome brother Frank — whose home is the great house and estate at Greshamsbury Park.
When the terrifying Lady Arabella Gresham discovers that her darling son has fallen in love with Mary, she is horrified. Her husband has frittered away the family fortune and is only being kept afloat by very favorable loans that Dr Thorne has secured from a railway millionaire, Sir Roger Scatcherd. However, Sir Roger is drinking himself into an early grave and the financial future is uncertain, so Lady Arabella believes it is her son’s duty to make a rich marriage to save the family estate and launches a campaign to secure her son an heiress for a bride.
Fellowes says, “As a lifetime devotee of Trollope, my own favourite among the great nineteenth century English novelists and certainly the strongest influence over my work that I am conscious of, it is tremendously exciting and satisfying to know that my adaptation of one of his best-loved novels is coming to ITV. I could not be more delighted.”
Fellowes is completing work on Downton Abbey which is shooting its 6th and final season to air this fall. He also has The Gilded Age to come, NBC’s long-gestating fictional take of the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s. ITV has not yet officially confirmed an airdate for Doctor Thorne, but it’s expected the series will air next year.