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Downton Abbey and One Day stars team up for beloved period drama adaptation

The six-part series is penned by Poldark writer Debbie Horsfield

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 1, 2024
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A new adaptation of John Galsworthy's Nobel Prize-winning Forsyte novels is coming to our screens, with stars of Downton Abbey, One Day and Doctor Who leading the cast. 

The six-part series, titled The Forsyte Saga and penned by Poldark writer Debbie Horsfield, is set in 1880s London and follows the lives of the wealthy Forsyte family. 

WATCH: The trailer for Netflix's hit series One Day

BAFTA-winning actress Francesca Annis (Flesh and Blood) portrays Forsyte matriarch Ann, with True Blood star Stephen Moyer as her eldest son, Jolyon Senior, who is the head of the family stockbroking business Forsyte & Co.

Francesca Annis in MILK © Sky Pictures/Gummfluh
Francesca Annis leads the cast as Forsyte matriarch Ann

Meanwhile, Danny Griffin (Fate: The Winx Saga) plays Stephen's bohemian son Jo, alongside Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey: A New Era) as his wife Frances, and Eleanor Tomlinson (One Day) as Jo's first love and Soho dressmaker Louisa Byrne.

Also featured in the series are Jack Davenport (The Morning Show) as Ann's younger son James, Joshua Orpin (Titans) as James' shrewd son Soames, Millie Gibson (Doctor Who) as dancer Irene, who Soames falls in love with, and Tom Durant Pritchard (This Is Going To Hurt, Miss Scarlet) as Monty Dartie, James' son-in-law.

Stephen Moyer as Bill Compton in True Blood
© 2013 Home Box Office Inc
True Blood's Stephen Moyer portrays Jolyon Senior

Rounding out the cast are Josette Simon OBE (Anatomy of a Scandal) as wealthy heiress Mrs. Ellen Parker Barrington, Jamie Flatters (Avatar: The Way Of Water) as architect Philip Bosinney, and Owen Igiehon (Disclaimer) as lawyer Isaac Cole.

Eleanor Tomlinson in One Day© Netflix
One Day's Eleanor Tomlinson plays Louisa Byrne

Susan Hampshire, who starred in the BBC's 1967 adaptation of the novels, will also appear in the upcoming series as Lady Carteret.

As well as the BBC's 1967 Forsyte Saga, Galsworthy's novels were also adapted by ITV in a 2002 series starring Damian Lewis and Gina McKee.

Millie Gibson arrives for the premiere of Doctor Who at the BFI Southbank in London in 2023© Ian West - PA Images
Millie Gibson plays Irene

Meenu Gaur (Murder Is Easy) and Annetta Laufer (Get Millie Black) will direct the upcoming drama, with Sarah Lewis (The Long Shadow) producing. 

Filming is set to begin in May in locations in England, Wales and Italy.

Describing the series as a "love letter to the original story", screenwriter Debbie said the show is "in part a prequel to the events of the first book, but also an opportunity to expand the world and place the women of the family center stage". 

Tom Durant Pritchard as Alexander Blake in Miss Scarlet© PBS
Miss Scarlet star Tom Durant Pritchard plays Monty Dartie

Meanwhile, Damien Timmer, CCO & Founder of production company Mammoth Screen, said the show is "huge". "It's an epic canvas, and Debbie's magnificent scripts have delivered a truly great ensemble cast," he said. 

MASTERPIECE's Susanne Simpson teased the series as a "sweeping, romantic drama" which portrays "how duty binds a family together until it conflicts with matters of the heart". 

A release date has yet to be announced.

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