You’d be forgiven for thinking Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes deserved a break after the drama’s sixth and final season. Instead the 66-year-old writer has been busy adapting Anthony Trollope’s 19th century novel Doctor Thorne for ITV – and today a star-studded cast has been unveiled.
In fact, Doctor Thorne has even bagged a regal connection: Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas is set to join Tom Hollander, Rebecca Front, Ian McShane and Mad Men actress Alison Brie in the new period drama.
The 26-year-old actress will play Patience Oriel, “a girl blessed with every gift except money” who is the close confidante of Dr Thomas Thorne’s young niece, Mary.
Hollander will star as the titular Dr Thorne, while newcomer Stefanie Martini will play Mary. Rebecca Front is set to star as Lady Arabella Gresham alongside Richard McGabe, who will play her on-screen husband Francis Gresham Senior.
Ian McShane, who made his name playing antiques dealer Lovejoy in the late 80s, will play railway millionaire Sir Roger Scatcherd, while Alison Brie has joined the cast as wealthy American heiress Miss Martha Dunstable.
“Doctor Thorne is a wonderful example of Trollope’s gift for understanding the tangles we humans get into. He is sharply observant, critical and merciful in equal measure and, above all, highly entertaining. With the cast we have assembled, I am confident we can bring all of these qualities to the screen,” said Fellowes.
Directed by Niall McCormick and produced by Helen Gregory, Doctor Thorne began filming earlier this month.