Julian Fellowes Plans 'Downton Abbey' Prequel

Julian Fellowes - Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences' - 2009
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The Oscar-winning scribe says he wants to look at the early relationship between the characters currently played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.

LONDON -- Oscar-winning scribe Julian Fellowes plans to write a prequel to his hit show Downton Abbey.

Fellowes, speaking at a British Academy Film and Television Academy screenwriters lecture, said he is writing a prequel that follows how the Earl and Countess of Grantham -- played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern in the current now -- first met.

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Fellowes' plans, reported on the BBC News website despite the show being a ratings hit for rival commercial broadcaster ITV, will be to look at the pair's early courtship from the American heiress' arrival in the U.K.

The spinoff drama will cast a pair of younger actors in the roles played by Bonneville and McGovern, according to the BBC.

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Fellowes said the spinoff would be broadcast after the end of Downton Abbey, which airs on PBS in the U.S.

"I don't think you can continue a narrative in more than one area at once," he explained.

He told the BAFTA audience the idea would be to look at the pair's blossoming relationship because McGovern's character was in love with the one played by Bonneville before they married and he married her "entirely for her money."

The prequel also might see some of the show set in America.

Downton Abbey star Maggie Smith picked up an Emmy on Sept. 23 for her turn in the show.