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Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes wants to make prequel

Alison Potter
By Alison Potter Published on 28 September 2012

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes wants to make prequel

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has sent fans of the drama into a frenzy after revealing that he’s planning a prequel to the hit show.

The 63-year-old writer is hoping to lay bare how the Earl and the future Lady Grantham first courted and united the traditional English Crawley family with the American Levinsons.

It’s rumoured that the prequel will show how it all began, starting in the late 19th century with Cora arriving in the UK at a time when many rich American heiresses crossed the Atlantic to wed eligible men.

At a Bafta Screenwriting Lecture Julian said to the audience: “I do have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship between Robert and Cora.

“It is a fascinating time when the Buccaneers were coming to England and marrying [aristocrats].

“Cora was in love with him before they married but as we know he only fell in love with her about a year after they married.

“He married her purely for the money. I think that is something he came to feel quite guilty about.”

He added: “Those American heiresses who arrived in such numbers during the 1880s and 90s, to rescue many great houses in distress...beauties stepping ashore into the (not always very willing) arms of a waiting nobleman.”

Initially he was planning to write the story as a novel to accompany the hit TV series, but it’s obvious that ITV wouldn’t want to miss out on the insane popularity of the series both in the UK and in the US, where it was recently nominated for 16 Emmys.

Rumours have long circulated that Julian would further explore the lives of the much-loved Downton Abbey characters on the big screen or on stage, but currently the show creator has admitted that he’s too busy with the third series.

The Oscar-winning writer also revealed that the BBC rejected his idea for the show in the 1990s and told him viewers weren’t interested in class or period drama.

Clearly Julian has had the last laugh as Downton is one of the most popular dramas on British television, now pulling in higher ratings than favourites Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

Series three has just hit our TV screens, enjoying peak ratings of nine million per episode and has been lauded by critics and fans alike.

by Alison Potter

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