Despite the fact that Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey is coming to an end later this year, he isn’t quite done working with ITV.
The much in-demand writer, who has period drama Gilded Age in the works at NBC, is returning to ITV to adapt one of his favourite novels, Doctor Thorne, as a three-part drama. Hat Trick Productions will produce with Mark Redhead, Julian Fellowes Chris Kelly and Ted Childs serving as executive producers. Production begins later this year.
Based on the novel by Anthony Trollope, Doctor Thorne tells the story of Dr Thomas Thorne, who lives in the village of Greshamsbury in Barsetshire, with his beautiful niece, Mary, a girl blessed with every gift except money. Mary Thorne has grown up alongside the Gresham sisters 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, Frank, has fallen in love with Dr Thorne’s penniless niece, she is horrified. The family fortune is all but gone and they are only being kept afloat by very favourable loans that Dr Thorne has secured from a railway millionaire. 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.
“We’re delighted to be working with Julian once again on the drama Doctor Thorne”, said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the three-parter alongside Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “It’s a rich and multi-layered story of class and social standing and a timeless love story which Julian has brought to life brilliantly with his inimitable wit and warmth,” said Steve.
“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”, added writer and executive producer Julian Fellowes. “I could not be more delighted.”