Julian Fellowes’ long-awaited US period drama The Gilded Age has finally been given a full series.
The series, set in 1880s New York City, has been in the works for some time now, and was first mooted back in 2012 while Fellowes’ smash hit ITV drama was still the jewel in the crown of the Sunday night schedules.
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The new drama will get a 10-episode first series due to air on NBC next year and will follow Marian Brook, who is described as “the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family”. Marian will be tasked with infiltrating the world of her neighbours, the Russells, who are headed up by ruthless railroad tycoon George. It sounds as though she’ll get to know them through their “rakish and available son Larry”, but she could also become acquainted with Larry’s ambitious mother, Bertha, whose ‘new money’ is a barrier to acceptance into the Astor and Vanderbilt set.
The city’s sparkling Fifth Avenue will play host to most of the drama, with the iconic streets’ glamorous palaces and apartments providing the perfect backdrop for the tale. And it will no doubt have a Downton feel, with the ITV drama’s producer Gareth Neame working on the new show with Fellowes.
“To write The Gilded Age is the fulfilment of a personal dream,” Fellowes said in a statement released to Entertainment Weekly. “I have been fascinated by this period of American history for many years and now NBC has given me the chance to bring it to a modern audience. I could not be more excited and thrilled. The truth is, America is a wonderful country with a rich and varied history, and nothing could give me more pleasure than to be the person to bring that compelling history to the screen.”
Now if only he could find a way to write a young Violet Crawley into the story. We’d love to see the Dowager Countess go toe-to-toe with a foe from across the Atlantic once again.