Julian Fellowes, the writer behind the hit series Downton Abbey, is writing a prequel which follows how the Earl and Countess of Grantham first met.
"I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London.
"They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money," said Fellowes, speaking at the Bafta Screenwriters' Lecture series.
"I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this which has affected their marriage beyond that."
Fellowes spoke of the prequel in book form, but - given the success of Downton Abbey - a TV adaptation seems almost certain.
The period drama, now in its third series, has proved a huge hit for ITV, and the broadcaster is keen to extend Downton's longevity - though it is rumoured that leading characters such as Dan Stevens are likely to leave the show at the end of the current series.
The spin-off drama would cast a pair of younger actors in the roles, currently played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, as his American wife.
Inter alia: Elizabeth McGovern is very sweet to look at, but let's hope the "younger" actress has somewhat more emotion in her face, and eloquence in her voice.
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