Tom’s new role is just what the doc­tor or­dered

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

If you’re still miss­ing Down­ton Abbey, the good news is that its cre­ator Ju­lian Fel­lowes is back with three-part pe­riod drama Doc­torThorne (Sun­day, ITV, 9pm), adapted from one of his favourite nov­els by An­thony Trol­lope. And there’s no need to worry if you’re not fa­mil­iar with the book – nei­ther was ac­tor Tom Hol­lan­der, and he’s play­ing the ti­tle role. Luck­ily, he did have prior knowl­edge of Fel­lowes’ writ­ing: “I worked with Ju­lian Fel­lowes on Gosford Park a long time ago. It was lovely to be re­united with him af­ter all that time. On my first day film­ing we were in Wrotham Park in Hert­ford­shire where we had also filmed Gosford Park in 2001. Four­teen years later there we are, Ju­lian is Lord Fel­lowes, I’ve got grey in my hair and we were do­ing his lat­est. So that was fun.” And then of course there’s the role it­self. Al­though Tom has been in pe­riod dra­mas be­fore – as well as the afore­men­tioned Gosford Park, he also played Mr Collins in the 2005 movie ver­sion of Pride & Prej­u­dice – be­ing the lead­ing man was some­thing of a new ex­pe­ri­ence. He’s def­i­nitely at the heart of the first episode, which opens in 1855, as Dr Thorne is forced to ex­plain to his niece Mary (Ste­fanie Mar­tini) that she hasn’t been in­vited to help with the prepa­ra­tions for an old friend’s wed­ding be­cause she’s il­le­git­i­mate. The news also looks set to blight Mary’s own mar­riage prospects, as she’s fallen for Frank (Harry Richard­son), the heir to the lo­cal Gre­shams­bury Es­tate – and his mother Lady Ara­bella (Re­becca Front) isn’t about to stand by and let him wed a woman with no money or breed­ing when he could be shoring up the fam­ily’s shaky fi­nances by woo­ing a rich Amer­i­can. Mean­while, the good doc­tor is also dish­ing out ad­vice to the rail­way baron Sir Roger Scatcherd (Ian McShane), who holds the fu­ture of Gre­shams­bury in his hands. Hol­lan­der is cer­tainly hop­ing it will be a hit with view­ers, say­ing: “Cos­tume dra­mas are re­ally about es­cap­ing from any­thing that is too fa­mil­iar. It’s a world of glis­ten­ing sun­shine and dewdecked mead­ows. It’s not con­tem­po­rary so­cial re­al­ism with a political punch. It’s some­thing to calm you down be­fore you go to sleep, be­fore the stresses of work the next day.” But if you do want some­thing more con­tem­po­rary, you can al­ways watch Hol­lan­der in The Night Man­ager over on BBC1 at the same time…

Se­crets Tom Hol­lan­der stars in the pe­riod drama

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