Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess could be back in New York period drama

The pithy putdowns from the queen of sarcasm may be returning

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The Independent Culture

We may not have seen the last of the Dowager Countess, according to Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

The biting Violet Crawley could be making a comeback in Fellowes’ new series The Gilded Age, which he is developing for US broadcaster NBC.

The show will be another period drama this time set in the late 19th Century during the so-called “gilded age” of economic growth and prosperity in America. The Gilded Age will reportedly follow the “robber barons” families of high society in New York, who have benefitted from the period of rapid industrialisation.

Dame Maggie Smith plays the role of the acerbic-tongued matriarch in Downton Abbey but if the Dowager Countess did return, it would be a younger version of the character. That’s not all though, her son Robert could also have a part to play in the new drama.

"Robert Grantham would be in his early teens, Cora would be a child. A young Violet could make an appearance," Fellowes said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.


For the moment though Fellowes is keeping his focus firmly on Downton and has dispelled rumours of working on The Gilded Age.

Last month he announced that Downton had had its day and would be ending after the sixth series and Christmas special.

In a statement Fellowes said, “The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course, we had no idea.”

There will be a Downton Abbey Christmas special for series six

“Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience.

“I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here and, if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment.”

The period drama is filmed at Highclere Castle and features a mixture of established stars including Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville and new faces. Downton Abbey helped launch the careers of actors including Michelle Dockery, Lily James and Dan Stevens.

There have been reports that the show’s makers would also like to make a film spin-off of Downton Abbey that would be a standalone rather than being part of the main story arc.