Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ next project—an adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s novel Doctor Thorne—was announced some time ago, with polite nods and a fair amount of skepticism (these last couple of Downton seasons being what they were and all). Now Doctor Thorne has a cast locked in, and it seems safe to go ahead and get excited about it.
Entertainment Weekly reports Alison Brie, Ian McShane, and Tom Hollander will front the mini-series, which will air on ITV in the U.K. According to EW,
The period drama follows Dr. Thomas Thorne (Hollander) who lives with his peniless niece, Mary (Stefanie Martini), who falls for Frank Gresham (Harry Richardson). The Greshams were a wealthy family until Frank’s father, Francis Gresham Senior (Richard McCabe), lost all of their money. The family manages to get by on a loan acquired by Dr. Thorne from railway tycoon Sir Roger Scatcherd (McShane). But now, it’s up to Frank to marry up in order to save the family from financial ruin. Frank’s mother, Lady Arabella (Rebecca Front) sets her eye on a young, rich American heiress named Miss Martha Dunstable (Brie).
We actually wouldn’t have been surprised if Brie were playing a Brit—she does a more than credible accent in The Five-Year Engagement. And anything McShane does is worth seeing (Al Swearengen as a railway tycoon? GO ON), while Hollander (In the Loop) is particularly visible these days after a key role in Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation.
Doctor Thorne begins shooting this month. The Weinstein Company has already picked up North American rights, though they’ve not yet set an airdate.