Tom Hollander to star in Downton creator's new period drama, Doctor Thorne

(Image credit: EMPICS Entertainment)

Tom Hollander, Rebecca Front and Ian McShane will lead the cast in Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes' new period drama, Doctor Thorne, based on Anthony Trollope's mid-19th Century novel of the same name.


Rev star Tom plays Dr Thomas Thorne, who lives in the village of Greshamsbury in Barsetshire, with his young niece, Mary (Stefanie Martini), a girl blessed with every gift except money.

Mary Thorne has grown up alongside the wealthy Gresham family. However Francis Gresham Sr (Richard McCabe) has frittered away the family fortune and now his wife, Lady Arabella Gresham (Rebecca Front), their daughters Augusta (Gwyneth Keyworth) and Beatrice (Nell Barlow), and brother Frank (Harry Richardson) face losing their home.


When the terrifying Lady Arabella Gresham discovers that her darling son, Frank, has fallen in love with Dr Thorne’s penniless niece, she is horrified. Lady Arabella believes it is her son’s duty to make a rich marriage to save the family estate and launches a campaign to secure her son an heiress for a bride. Her target is wealthy American heiress Miss Martha Dunstable (Alison Brie).


Academy Award-winning writer Julian said: "Doctor Thorne is a wonderful example of Trollope's gift for understanding the tangles we humans get into. He is sharply observant, critical and merciful in equal measure and, above all, highly entertaining. With the cast we have assembled, I am confident we can bring all of these qualities to the screen."


Doctor Thorne will be executive produced by Julian with Hat Trick’s Head of Drama, Mark Redhead, who said: “With his characteristic genius, Julian Fellowes has brought to life a wonderful gallery of engaging, lovable, charming and monstrous characters in a script that is brilliantly funny and deeply touching.”


The three-part drama will be produced by Hat Trick Productions and filming begins later this month.


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.