‘Downton Abbey’ Is Going to Get a Prequel, Costume Drama Fans Rejoice!

ALTIf you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of Downton Abbey, the British sudster about a wealthy British family and the servants that live in their manor house. The problem is that we only get like six or seven episodes at a time and they’re a year apart. Damn you, British television system! Luckily PBS is going to get some more episodes to air not only of the show we love but also of a prequel about the couple at the center of the show, the Earl of Grantham (played by Hugh Bonneville on the series) and his American wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern).

Julian Fellowes the Emmy-winning creator of the show was giving a lecture to screenwriters at the British Academy Film and Television Academy when he discussed this potential new series, according to the BBC. “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,” Fellowes said. “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.”

The new series would cast young actors to play Robert can Cora and some of it might even be shot in the colonies, which is sure to please everyone with a PBS pledge drive tote bag sitting in their hall closet collecting dust. Fellowes said that he wouldn’t start work on the prequel until Downton Abbey proper finishes, so we might have to wait a bit. For those of you who really need a fix, the show’s third “series,” which is currently airing on ITV in Britain, will be on your local Public Broadcasting System in January. Or you could, you know, just borrow it from the internet now.

The biggest problem with this prequel though will be recasting the roles of Robert’s mother, the Dowager Countess Violet, who is played with award-winning acidity by Dame Maggie Smith and Cora’s mother who is going to be played in the third season by Shirley MacLaine. Whichever actresses try to step into those shoes are going to have a bloody hard time.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

[Photo Credit: Masterpiece Theater]


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