Fans of Downton Abbey bid a sad goodbye to their weekly Edwardian escapism in March, but a new short series from Downton creator Julian Fellowes may help fill the gap for Anglophile drama. Briefly, anyway. Amazon Studios is adding Doctor Thorne to their lineup, a three-episode series adapted by Fellowes from the book by Anthony Trollope. The entire series will be available on May 20th.
Amazon Studios immediately put together a new trailer:
Tom Hollander (The Night Manager) stars as Doctor Thorne, who deals with small town personalities and old family politics as he raised his penniless niece Mary (Stefani Martini). Mary is close with the nearby Gresham family, but an elopement with their son Frank (Harry Richardson) is thwarted by Lady Gresham’s (Rebecca Front) efforts to marry him off to an American heiress (Allison Brie), to save the family fortune. Ian McShane, Rebecca Front, Phoebe Nicholls, Richard McCabe, and Nell Barlow also star, Niall MacCormick directs.
The series received mixed reviews when it aired in Britain. The Telegraph called it a “roller-coaster affair” with sharply drawn main characters but a flat supporting cast. Overall the series was considered humorous and fun, however, and it’s only three episodes, so certainly worth the time for anyone who’s a Fellowes fan. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the show covers Downton-friendly themes of fortune, poverty, illegitimacy, and marriage, and drew nearly 3 million U.K. viewers in overnight ratings.
Immediately following the British broadcast the North American rights were picked up by The Weinstein Company.
Fellowes is also working on The Gilded Age for NBC, a series set in New York and considered a prequel to Downton Abbey. PBS is also said to be courting Fellowes for another series. Besides Downton, in the United States Fellowes is best known for his Academy Award-winning screenplay for Gosford Park, in 2002.