Downton Abbey Series Four could include Indian character

Screenwriter Julian Fellowes says it would be 'rather nice to open it up ethnically a bit'

LAST UPDATED AT 11:47 ON Mon 5 Nov 2012

DOWNTON ABBEY, the blockbuster ITV series about servants and aristocrats living in a fictional country pile, could get its first ethnic minority character after screenwriter Julian Fellowes said it would be a “rather nice” way of developing the show.

Asked by The Daily Telegraph about criticism of its all-white cast and whether it wasn’t time to introduce a suitable new character, Fellowes said: “Oh I think that’s rather a good idea. You have to work it in in a way that is historically believable, but I am sure we could do that. [The show] certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period.”

This would put Downton on a par with Upstairs Downstairs, the BBC’s rival period drama in which the Pakistani-born British actor Art Malik plays the character of Mr Amanjit, a Sikh secretary.

Before Fellowes gets to work on a new character, however, ITV needs to commission a fourth series following the finale last night of Series Three. So far it has made no announcement, though the introduction yesterday of a new character, Lady Rose, suggests ITV will continue to exploit the show’s popularity.

Fellowes said: “I would hope [there will be more] because of the response to this series, but you know [ITV] are always pretty close to their chest in terms of an actual commission. But I think I’d be surprised if there was not a fourth series.”
 
Downton has enjoyed one previous flirtation with an ethnic minority actor. In the first series, a Turkish character appeared in one episode, but he died shortly after deflowering the eldest daughter of Downton Abbey’s aristocratic Crawley family.
 
Another popular ITV series, Midsomer Murders, has introduced two Asian characters to the fictional village in which it is set after a row blew up when series creator Brian True-May said: "We just don't have ethnic minorities involved, because it wouldn't be the English village then." · 

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