Doctor Thorne, new drama from Downton creator

Doctor ThorneJulian Fellowes’ latest project after his hugely successful series, Downton Abbey, is a miniseries adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1858 novel, Doctor Thorne.

This new three-episode series revolves around the life and choices of Mary Thorne (played by Stefanie Martini), a penniless young woman of dubious lineage who must navigate a society prejudiced against her.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about Doctor Thorne, Fellowes had this to say about adapting the novel:

“Trollope is one of my favorite writers of all time. His emotional position is very similar to my own in that nobody is all good or all bad. His characters have a mixture of ruthlessness and toughness with inner decency. I’ve always wanted to see more of him on television, instead of it always being Jane Austen or Charles Dickens.”

Fellowes went on to express his admiration of the main character, citing her strength in the face of various adversities. He also discussed the decision of casting a newcomer as the star of the series, saying that they wanted “a girl that nobody had seen before.”

When asked about parallels between Mary Thorne and Downton Abbey’s indomitable Mary Crawley, Fellowes said:

“They’re both strong women. One of the things about periods is that women were so circumscribed – there were endless rules. But of course, there were clever women who wanted to have good lives, get around the rules, and find ways of expressing themselves.”

Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men) was cast as Miss Dunstable. Although the character in the book was originally English, Fellowes chose to cast an American to better dramatize her being an outsider in society.

Doctor Thorne also stars Tom Hollander as Doctor Thorne, Rebecca Front as Lady Arabella Gresham, Richard McCabe as Frank Gresham Sr., and Ian McShane as Sir Roger Scatcherd.

Doctor Thorne aired earlier this year on ITV and will be available on Amazon Prime on May 20, 2016.