Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes plans a prequel
Writer 'taunts' US audience with plans for spin-off revealing how Lord and Lady Grantham first met
DOWNTON ABBEY writer Julian Fellowes is planning a spin-off story about the courtship between Lord and Lady Grantham. Actors Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern would be replaced by younger actors to portray the characters in the early days of their romance, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Speaking at a Bafta screenwriters' lecture, held at the British Film Institute, Fellowes said: "I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London - the Buccaneers, as they were called.
"They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money. I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this."
Fellowes said he was initially planning to write the prequel as a novel to accompany the TV series, but it looks likely ITV would adapt it for television too.
The writer also hinted that a Downton play or feature-length film could be under consideration. However, he said his plans would have to wait until the current third series of the TV show was over.
For American viewers still waiting for a glimpse of the third series, another wait for Downton action seems to be too much. "It's bad enough that Downton Abbey doesn't start airing in the United States until January, but now Julian Fellowes is just taunting us," says Margaret Lyons at Vulture.com.
Judging by the age of Lord and Lady Grantham's children, The Independent suggests that the prequel might be set in the 1880s. It says Fellowes would have plenty of historical landmarks to portray in the years up to 1910, such as the Granthams celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and Lord Grantham fighting the Boer war.
"As long as the Dowager is in it," says Jen Chaney in The Washington Post, "attempting to interfere at every turn, that's fine."