Julian Fellowes is by no means putting his feet up once Downton Abbey comes to an end later this year. Not only does the creator of the award-winning drama have American series The Gilded Age to occupy his time, he’s also signed up to adapt Anthony Trollope novel Doctor Thorne for ITV.
Fellowes – who called time on Downton last month – describes himself as a “lifelong devotee” of the 19th century author whose novel charts the story of Dr Thomas Thorne who lives with his beautiful niece Mary in the village of Greshamsbury in Barsetshire.
Mary – a girl blessed with every gift except money – has grown up with the Gresham sisters, Auguster Beatrice and Alexandrina, and their handsome brother Frank.
But when Lady Arabella Gresham discovers her son has fallen for Dr Thorne’s pennless niece, she’s horrified – with her family’s fortune frittered away by her husband, a favourable marriage for Frank is the Gresham’s only hope of securing their financial future.
According to Fellowes, Trollope – who was born 200 years ago this month – is “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.”
“We’re delighted to be working with Julian once again on the drama Doctor Thorne,” said Steve November, ITV’s director of drama. “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.”
The three-part drama will begin filming later this year with casting details yet to be announced.