MIPTV: What Will Be the Next 'Downton Abbey'?
A handful of posh period dramas — including Julian Fellowes' 'Doctor Thorne' and ITV Studios' 'Victoria' — are lining up to follow the Crawleys.
This story first appeared in the April 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
While the Crawleys of Downton Abbey might have scoffed their last supper, several new posh period dramas have appeared on the horizon looking to take their well-heeled place in the drawing room.
Among the major titles is Victoria, ITV Studios’ big scripted push on the Croisette. It stars Doctor Who sidekick Jenna Coleman as a teen Queen Victoria and is earmarked as a Downton replacement, having been allocated that show’s Sunday slot on Masterpiece when it lands in 2017. Then there’s Hat Trick International’s Doctor Thorne — adapted by Downton creator Julian Fellowes from the Anthony Trollope novel — another big-house-in-the-country affair that ticks the usual themes of fortune, marriage and entitlement and was nabbed by The Weinstein Co. And from War & Peace producers Lookout Point comes Amazon co-production The Collection, an ambitious delve into post-World War II Paris fashion that is being shopped by BBC Worldwide.
Despite his show’s French storyline, Lookout Point CEO Simon Vaughan suggests Collection and others like it should doff their top hats to the recently departed Emmy-amassing great.
“Downton opened doors none of us could have believed would be opened,” he tells THR, adding the show has become “everybody’s best friend” when it comes to positioning “ambitious, returnable” period dramas. Ruth Clarke, executive vp global content strategy and investment at ITV Studios, adds that the U.K. industry repeatedly proves there remains an eager audience for high-end period dramas.
“Most international broadcasters would tell you that first and foremost they’re looking for contemporary drama,” she says. “Yet the British production community keeps bringing out these great period dramas that become global sensations.”