Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is presenting a new series in which antique bookcases and Victorian dining chairs again take centre stage, only this time in a non-fictional setting.
Stately homes stuffed with antique marquetry furniture seem to be a popular subject on TV these days; some – such as Goodwood – even get second visits. A venue more associated with racing events than antique cabinets, Lancashire viewers had a distinct case of déjà view when they saw Goodwood’s interiors on Great Houses with Julian Fellowes (ITV1, Tuesday 22nd January) – because Channel 4 had just featured them in the similarly themed ‘The Aristocrats’.
Fellowes is an aristocrat by marriage; his full title is Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford. It will come as no surprise to people in Cumbria that he uses a Victorian mahogany pedestal desk to work. An actor, director and writer, the creator of Downton Abbey has worked on numerous period dramas, the latest being The Gilded Cage for NBC. On Tuesday, he stepped in front of the cameras in a non-fictional role as the presenter of Great Houses, visiting the sporting equestrian venues of Goodwood and Burghley. Like The Aristocrats, it focussed less on the houses than it did on those who lived there. This time, however, it was past, not present events that captured the imagination – tales that made Fellowes’ scripts look tame in comparison.
In Preston, the beautiful open bookcases and antique chests sold by antique dealers add a touch of Downton drama to any home.
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