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Is upcoming period drama Howard's End the new Downton Abbey?

hayley atwell 1© Photo: Getty Images
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
February 24, 2017
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The BBC has announced plans to adapt the E.M. Forster novel Howards End into a four-episode miniseries! The drama will have an all-star cast, including Agent Carter actress Hayley Atwell, who will play Margaret Schlegel, and Pride and Prejudice's very own Mr Darcy Matthew Mcfadyen as Henry Wilcox.

The show will likely draw comparisons with period drama Downton Abbey; both focus on class divisions in England at the turn-of-the-century. Like Downton, which followed the lives of both upper and working class life in the early 19th century, Howards End follows three families; the working class Basts, the wealthy Wilcoxes and the intelligent Schlegel sisters, and explores how their lives differ as a result of their social status. The adaptation has been written by the Manchester by the Sea screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan, and a BBC executive producer spoke about having the BAFTA-award winning writer involved in the project. They said: "Kenneth Lonergan is one of our truly great contemporary voices, and his adaptation of this adored timeless classic will surprise and delight a whole new audience with its timely and relevant themes."

READ: Michelle Dockery says Downton 'may not be over yet'

hayley atwell 2© Photo: Getty Images

Hayley Atwell will star in the upcoming show

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Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Downton Abbey could soon return as a full-length film. The creator of the period drama, Julian Fellowes, has previously revealed he would be delighted to return to the show, which finished in 2015. During an interview on Good Morning Britain, he said: "I would love to make [a Downton film]. As far as I am concerned, I am completely up for it. Most of the cast are up for it." Jim Carter has also hinted that a film could be in the works, telling Susanna Reid and Ben Sherphard: "We've been asked to keep ourselves available for dates in the future. But nobody has seen a script."

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