ITV1 to make period drama from ‘forgotten’ novel by Secret Garden author

The Making of a Lady has been adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett's little-known story into a 120-minute film

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Calling all Downton Abbey fans: a new period drama is headed for our screens as a ‘forgotten’ classic novel by Secret Garden author Frances Hodgson Burnett is resurrected by ITV. The Making of a Lady has been adapted by writer Kate Brooke (The Forsyte Saga, Wired) from Burnett’s suspenseful, romantic story, The Making of a Marchioness.

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The tale revolves around impoverished gentlewoman Emily – a young heroine living in late Victorian London who sacrifices her dream of marrying for love in order to guarantee financial security.

After being dismissed from her position, she marries her former employer’s wealthy nephew, Lord James Walderhurst, in a match of convenience. When her new husband abandons the marital home to rejoin his regiment in India, Emily is befriended by his gold digging nephew and heir, Alec Osborn and his wife, Hester.

But the new lady of the manor is oblivious to the danger she is in – while her husband risks his life overseas, Emily is under threat from the greedy couple, desperate to prevent their benefactor from producing an heir. Will she realise in time the danger she is in?

The 120-minute single film is due to be shot in August for four weeks on location in Manchester and Stoke and will be directed by Richard Curson Smith (Will Self’s The Minor Character, Consenting Adults, Wire in the Blood).

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Executive producer Stevie Lee said: “It’s an engaging and clever story with tension and jeopardy every step of the way but also it’s fresh, a period story that very few people know. Emily is such a good, relatable and morally strong heroine. She has no one to turn to in her hour of need, but hopefully help will come from an unexpected quarter.”