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Alison Brie, Ian McShane to star in Downton Abbey creator’s new series

Alison Brie in Mad Men

As Downton Abbey heads into its final season, creator Julian Fellowes is busy with his new post-Downton project: a television adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s Doctor Thorne. According to Entertainment Weekly, the period drama—which will air on the U.K.’s ITV—has found its cast, which includes Tom Hollander, Ian McShane, and Alison Brie. McShane was recently cast in the upcoming season of Game Of Thrones, and Hollander starred in the fantastic British sitcom Rev. More recently, he appeared in Rogue Nation. Brie recently stole hearts in Sleeping With Other People and also voices multiple characters in Netflix’s BoJack Horseman.

Doctor Thorne will follow, well, Dr. Thorne (Hollander). He lives with his poor niece Mary (Stefanie Martini), who falls in love with Frank Gresham (Harry Richardson), a member of a formerly wealthy family that recently lost all of their money. McShane plays railway tycoon Sir Roger Scatcherd, who provides the Gresham family with a loan because he has all that sweet, sweet railroad money. Frank is faced with the task of marrying up to guarantee his family’s financial stability. In steps Frank’s mother Lady Arabella (Rebecca Front) to assist the lad with finding a suitable suitor. She sets her eyes on Miss Martha Dunstable, a young and wealthy American heiress played by Alison Brie. Lady Arabella is no dummy. Who wouldn’t want to marry Alison Brie?


The story, with its class struggles and courtship woes, certainly sounds right up Fellowes’ alley, and he has an impressive cast at his disposal for the three-part miniseries. “Doctor Thorne is a wonderful example of Trollope’s gift for understanding the tangles we humans get into,” Fellowes said in a release. “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.”

The miniseries begins filming this month and will be directed by Niall McCormick, and additional cast members include Phoebe Nicholls, Gwyneth Keyworth, Kate O’Flynn, Edward Franklin, and Cressida Bonas. The Weinstein Company has acquired the North American rights to air Doctor Thorne.

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