Countess and Indians twist for Downton Abbey?
Its formula for winning the ratings battle is well proven – but change could be afoot if Downton Abbey is re-commissioned.
The popular television series – which concluded its third series on Sunday – is a bastion of English period drama.
But West-based creator of the show Julian Fellowes said he is considering introducing Indian characters into the show.
Lord Fellowes, who lives at West Stafford near Dorchester in Dorset with his wife Emma, told the Daily Telegraph that he would like to introduce black or Indian characters into the programme.
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He was responding to criticism that Downton Abbey does not contain any black characters, saying it would be “rather nice to open it up ethnically a bit”.
He told the newspaper: “Oh I think that’s rather a good idea. You have to work it in in a way that is historically believable, but I am sure we could do that. [The show] certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period.”
Given its bumper audiences it is all but a certainty that Downton will be commissioned for a fourth series.
It is reported to be returning for a Christmas special, but everything beyond that is still up in the air.
“I think I’d be surprised if there was not a fourth series,” he said.
The period drama ended its run on a high, with 10.7 million viewers.
Sunday’s instalment was the highest-rating episode of the series, which saw US star Shirley MacLaine join the likes of Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
Downton Abbey averaged 9.7 million viewers across the series, making it the highest-rating drama of the year so far, ITV said.
BBC1 hit Call The Midwife averaged 8.7 million viewers, while Sherlock had 8.3 million. Meanwhile, famed director Sir Peter Hall has apologised to Downton Abbey actress Laura Carmichael after he “unintentionally disrupted” the star during her West End stage debut.
The actress, who shot to fame as Downton’s Lady Edith Crawley, continued her closing monologue in the Chekhov classic Uncle Vanya, despite a commotion caused by Sir Peter.
The theatre veteran, 81, denied reports that he heckled the actress during the performance on Friday and said he was “disorientated” after falling asleep.
He said in a statement: “I am mortified that I unintentionally disrupted the final scene of Uncle Vanya and I have sent a personal note to Laura Carmichael offering my apologies. I enjoyed the evening, and her performance.”