ITV ‘s Newest Sunday Night Drama is Doctor Thorne. An Anthony Trollope adaptation by the King of Sunday Night Costume Drama, Julian Fellowes. Such a pedigree guaranteed my enjoyment.
We open as Catty young Misses speak of who will be bridesmaids at a lavish family wedding and Mary a long standing family friend is made to feel unwanted despite being the favourite of the Matriarch’s handsome nephew Frank whom she has shared an affection since childhood. Their pointed comments sends Mary home to quiz her uncle as to her true parentage.
In wonderfully gentle form, Tom Hollander’s Doctor Thorne is truly lovely. He is the only person in possession of all of her familial connections. Her mother gone to Australia and her father killed by another uncle she has never met. She the sole spark of joy in Thorne’s house and he loves her as his own.
Ian McShane is a self made man and the very same uncle who through drunken accident killed Mary’s Father. His ownership of the local railway has given him sufficient funds to play bank roller to the hoity toity family whose whole positioning the local society now restsn on the reluctant shoulders of Young Frank and his Marrying into a fortune.
A renewed will may well make Mary a very rich woman too as the exact wording may mean she might come into her secret Uncle’s fortune on his Son’s death.
Mary tries to extricate herself from her burgeoning romance with Frank out of feelings of inadequacy and Frank’s Mother makes it clear she should stay clear until Frank finds a suitable wife to Doctor Thorne who takes umbrage and rightly so as her tone infers entrapment.
Frank is forced into the path of a rich American heiress and her forthright straight talking and full cognisance of her part as commodity, soon makes her a friend to Frank’s cause to win Mary.
Thorne is a great part, central to all but not the driver in this plot. Strong, Moral and faultlessly loyal. This is definitely one to watch in the Downton Void and a strong rival to the BBC’s until now unrivalled Literature adaptation crown. I await my next visit to Barchester with great enthusiasm.