Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne

Season 1
 (21,105)7.32016X-Ray13+
From the creator of Downton Abbey. Dr. Thorne lives a quiet life with niece Mary in Greshambury, home of the wealthy Gresham family. Unbeknownst to others, the Greshams have lost their fortune and matriarch Lady Arabella has a scheme to regain it via an arranged marriage with her son and an American heiress. However, her son plans to elope with Mary, which complicates Lady Arabella's plans.
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

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  1. 1. Episode One
    May 19, 2016
    45min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    1855. Doctor Thorne's penniless niece, Mary, is devastated to learn that she is the illegitimate child of his late brother. Mary falls in love with the heir to the Greshamsbury Estate, Frank. Frank is under instructions to save his family from financial ruin by marrying money. Doctor Thorne acts as both physician and business advisor to a railway millionaire, who holds the fate of Greshamsbury.
  2. 2. Episode Two
    May 19, 2016
    43min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    It's Election Day, and Sir Roger Scatcherd wins the respect of the voters, but succumbs to ill health. Doctor Thorne does his best to ease the pain, but he senses the end is near. Scatcherd's son, Louis, is called for and he takes an immediate shine to Mary. Dr Thorne endeavours to embrace his new position as Louis' guardian, but is horrified to learn that he has romantic designs on his niece.
  3. 3. Episode Three
    May 19, 2016
    43min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Frank plucks up the courage to propose to Mary and Dr Thorne gives him his blessing, but not before he has filled him in on the scandalous truth surrounding her birth. Lady Arabella continues her persecution of Mary, and is furious when Frank tells her he is set on marrying Dr Thorne's penniless niece. When Mary accepts, Louis vows to take his revenge upon the Greshams by seizing their estate.
  4. 4. Episode Four
    May 19, 2016
    43min
    13+
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    While Frank and Mary plan their upcoming nuptials, Lady Arabella determines not to give up without a fight. She persuades Mary that marrying Frank would selfish, and if she truly loves him she should set him free. Meanwhile, Louis is struggling with his unpopular position in society and Mary's rejection. He takes great pleasure in insulting the Greshams when they invite him for dinner.

More details

Producers
Helen Gregory
Season year
2016
Network
Amazon Studios
Content advisory
Foul languagedrug usesexual contentviolence
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Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

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4.4 out of 5 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Design ThinkReviewed in the United States on May 11, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good fun for the English period drama afficianado + some TIPS for after you blow through these four short episodes (!)
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Doctor Fellowes is not really a "Downton" type mega-hit. Instead, it is a little bit Cranford, a tiny bit Poldark, and a lot of Emma and Sense and Sensibility.

Taken in its own right, Doctor Thorne is everything I expected it to be…which is just fine by me. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

To be clear, it really more of a long movie than a "series," per se (just under three hours in total). But the length works well enough for the source material.

To turn it into a set of four distinct episodes rather than the a movie format, the producers added formal fireside introductions and conclusions by Julian Fellowes to each "episode": kind of an Afred Hitchcock meets Masterpiece Theater kind of touch. Those weren't really weren't my personal cup of tea, because they tended to take me out of the flow of the story, and sometimes offered up (minor) spoilers. Some viewers might enjoy those interludes though, and they were easy enough to skip over.

To be clear, nothing about Doctor Thorne was surprising in the slightest. Marvelously grand houses. Spectacular clothing. Unnaturally beautiful people. Stunning English scenery. Fabulous wealth, and the desperate fear of losing it. High-stakes tradeoffs between love and money. Deathbed drama, and lighthearted frivolity. The strictures of being a woman during that era. Uptight English norms, and desires to break free of them. The entre of an American heiress into that world, casting a bright light on some of the inherent dysfunction of that system. And, of course, some requisite swoon-worthy deep eye gazing, with expressions of repressed and forbidden love.

Okay, so not terribly surprising, and more than a little predictable; even a bit formulaic at times. But it is the source material by Trollope which is responsible for that, not something about this particular rendition. And in any case, so what, since it is a formula that works?! It was engaging and pleasant and perfectly marvelous fun, and I will happily watch it again. And it is quite to Amazon's credit that it is willing and able to support original feature productions of this impressive quality.

The characters and all of their perfect imperfections were compelling, often comically so, with a few notably wise souls in the mix. I was left wanting to see more of them, which is a good sign. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces (favorites were Allison Brie of Mad Men, Ian McShane of Deadwood, with several other recognizable actors in the mix as well.) I did not happen to find the familiarity to be distracting in this case, but be forewarned that some viewers may.

It will have a smaller potential audience than Downton Abbey. Among other especially special attributes of Downton, it was quite a cross cutting show, enjoyed seemingly as much by men as by women. I quite loved both of the shows myself, but I am guessing Doctor Thorne will not be as widely beloved. This strikes me as a show mostly for the English period drama aficionado, which is quite fine by me, but naturally limits its reach.

For some interesting context about Anthony Trollope's work relative to his contemporaries, with discussion of Doctor Thorne in particular (with useful comparisons between the book and novel), Google "The Way We Live Now," by Laura Miller, published on Slate.com on May 30, 2016.

For those of you who finish all 4 episodes/ 3 hours of Doctor Thorne tonight (...and, c'mon, you know you probably will...), and are then left wanting more British period drama, here are some ideas. Here are good Amazon options, mostly on Prime (+ also check the comments section below this review, since people have been making some great suggestions there, as well!)

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*** TIPS for VIEWING ALTERNATIVES (for after you have blown through Doctor Thorne!) ***
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~~~ POLDARK ~~~ A succulent English drama that will tend to appeal to the same crowd who will enjoy Doctor Thorne, albeit with a bit more darkly melodramatic flair. Set in the English countryside on the heels of the Revolutionary War as British soldiers return home, it has classic themes of marrying for love or money, sudden gains and reversals of fortune, working class struggles vs. the landed gentry, tension between those who are ready throw off the strictures of hierarchical English society versus the many elites who resist it mightily. After blowing through Season 1 of Poldark on Amazon Prime, I am now eagerly awaiting Season 2.

~~~ LARKRISE TO CANDLEFORD ~~~ Seasons 1-3. Based on a book of the same name, Larkrise to Candleford is a bit less opulent than Doctor Thorne and Poldark. It spends much of its time with the middle and lower classes of English society (directly acknowleding the differences in engaging, if fairly predictable, ways). As such, the costumes and sets aren't quite as marvelous. But it is a lovely show, if a tad dated in terms of production quality. It is also one that is family friendly (kind of like an English "Little House on the Prairie"), mixing life lessons in with the drama, so I have been rewatching it with my 11 year old. Catch it while you can on Prime, as it has circulated in and out of Prime, and right now (May 2016) all three seasons are free on Prime. (and/or just read the classic books, as they are also a real treat, and fantastic window into that interesting time of railroads and associated technological developments, and how those affected rural English society.)

~~~ CRANFORD ~~~ Cranford is along the lines of Larkrise to Candleford, a little newer, and also quite a charming on small village life in merry 'ole England.

~~~ THE PARADISE ~~~ The genre is slightly different -- i.e. rather than focusing on the landed gentry in pastoral England, it focused on the opening of the first full-fledged department store in Gibson-girl London. The concept can feel a tad predictable and trite (audacious store owner, big stores pushing out small stores, women gaining independence in the workplace, shop floor competition, etc.) Yet it is much fun! Great costumes. Engaging characters. An always-interesting focus on new developments replacing old traditions. Different seasons of Paradise cycle in and out of Prime (and it doesn't seem to be on Prime as of the moment), but it always worth a look to see if/when The Paradise available for free.

~~~ MR. SELFRIDGE ~~~ Basically see my description of "The Paradise" for plot (the shows are almost amazingly similar!) Keep the idea of a flashy and controversial department store replacing the increasingly staid stores of London. Change the era to Downton Abbey/ early 20th century/pre and post WWI. And basically, you get "The Paradise" and its department store politics, set in a later era, with an audacious businessman (Jeremy Piven of Entourage) who happens to be American. It also has great costuming. It also focuses a good deal on new developments pushing out old traditions, and on the societal change of women gaining independent power outside of the home. Like the Paradise, it is also a little predictable and sometimes a bit trite, yet it is still good fun! Several seasons of Mr. Selfridge happen to be on Prime at the moment, and you might want to grab it while you can because it, too, cycles in and out of Prime.

~~~ OUTLANDER ~~~ I almost hesitate to add Outlander because it not on Prime at the moment (so $19-ish per season), and because it probably has already been voraciously consumed by a good portion of the people looking into Doctor Thorne...but, oh, if you haven't seen it, you must! Be forewarned though, it can be graphic, both sexually and in terms of violence; Outlander is definitely not family-friendly fare, and the violence sometimes seems over the top and unnecessary to me. But, aside from that, it is quite a magnificent show. If you are not familiar with it, or the wonderful books the series is based on, Outlander is a bit hard to explain -- it is mostly Scottish colonial period drama, mixed with time travel. But even the sci fi adverse are likely to enjoy this show, with its magnificent costumes, sets, lush Scottish scenery, and, aye, the truly marvelous accents and men in kilts. The acting and characters are great, as well. Highly recommended, at least for those who are ok with fairly explicit violence and (...some wildly, passionately, super hot...) sex.

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~~~ Happy Viewing! ~~~
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947 people found this helpful
Nicholas ArcherReviewed in the United States on January 12, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
Barbie and Ken go to Greshamsbury Park
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Julian Fellowes has dumbed down a very smart and funny book, and unnecessarily. He removed the complexity from a number of characters, and in what seems a very patronizing move towards his American audience (of which I am part), makes Miss Dunstable American, and then a deal more attractive than she is supposed to be. How tedious. Must everyone that is wise look beautiful? He doesn't allow Fred to be foolish in the beginning, but instead Fellowes makes him into a vacuous love lorn Ken doll the whole time, and so he becomes quite one dimensional and is not able to grow. And it is neither credible nor particularly gratifying to see Mr. Moffatt made into a hero for class equality. Fellowes has robbed a delicious story of its complexity and depth, and made it into suggary melodrama. (Tom Hollander and Ian McShane are both, on the other hand, wonderful, in the midst of this. And their scenes together make you yearn for more of them, and less Barbie and Ken).

And really, Mr. Fellowes, the Alistair Cook impersonation in the library is embarrassing.
83 people found this helpful
McPotterReviewed in the United States on May 26, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Felt Like Masterpiece Theatre
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If you're a Jane Austen fan, then you'll enjoy this adaptation of an Anthony Trollope novel. The characters actually follow a more understandable motivation than many of Miss Austen's characters. Some are more well rounded than others, but that may be a product of the adaptation rather than the underlying novel. What I do really appreciate about Julian Fellowes' adaptation is that he kept the pace moving without it feeling rushed. Coming in at around 3 hours total, the show is what I would describe as a the perfect length. The sets, scenes, and costuming are beautiful, as to be expected.

If you're fan of Ian McShane (Deadwood), you'll love his role in this. He plays one of the main supporting roles, and actually has one of the most interesting backstories and one of the most in depth character developments.

While some have objected, I enjoyed the episode breaks with Julian Fellowes providing commentary. It reminded me of the old Materpiece Theatre.
172 people found this helpful
BrookeReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Finally, Anthony Trollope on TV!
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I love Anthony Trollope and was giddy when I saw Dr Thorne pop up in my feed. If you're not familiar with Trollope, this is a good place to start. I have to say that Julian Fellowes did an excellent job of bringing the novel to the small screen, and while it doesn't follow the written work completely, it was pretty close. I'm sure that some of the events were changed for time constraints, and the book certainly had more background info, especially regarding the clergy and the voting customs of the time, but this series did stay pretty true to the novel. Overall I was pleased, and blew through all of these in a long evening.

I really hope that JF makes more of Trollope's works into series like this one. Part of the glory of reading Trollope is that every book refers to characters from previous books until the stories are all intertwined. You really get to feel as if you live in his world, and Julian Fellowes does that well also. I would definitely watch any others he decides to do, and I highly recommend this one.
60 people found this helpful
Ted AgostinoReviewed in the United States on December 27, 2017
2.0 out of 5 stars
Very Disappointing
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Oh, dear. I'm a great fan of Anthony Trollope, and Dr. Thorne is one of my favorites. This adaptation, though, is thin, shallow, and rather vulgar.
One of the joys of Trollope is the sheer volume and flow of language: the copious back-stories on every character, the long asides to the reader on social mores, the fourth-wall-breaking meta-narrative of the narrator justifying his own choices. Having taken out all that, the mere plot is only melodrama, and not very compelling at that.
Trollope is quite cheekily aware of the absurdity of his characters, but Fellowes does not seem to be. By playing it more or less straight, he allows the viewer the cheap thrill of feeling superior to the characters; Trollope undercuts the reader's moral superiority by implicating himself as well as the reader. Trollope serves ambiguity, but Fellowes does away wit all that in favor of obviousness.
There is also something very modern in the performances, especially on the part of Mary and Young Frank, and that is not a compliment.
Very much a made-for-TV movie, with all the shallowness that implies.
The costumes and sets were pretty.
19 people found this helpful
Mrs. ivrReviewed in the United States on June 3, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Doctor Thorne gently escorted into the 21st Century by Julian Fellowes and PBS.
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My only regret was that it was four (4) episodes! Characters were well developed, situations were utterly believable - my problem was that I and my friends, expected Julian to be our guide for more than 4 episodes. Who knew Julian Fellowes could develop a piece - I have not read the book - that would answer what happened to the characters, offer possible insight into "why", address the cultural feelings at this time, give me and my friends enough time to discuss/watch each episode and determine what the next episode would be about.
I think we thought Julian Fellowes has only one bag of tricks ( the many episodes developed for "Downton Abbey") and we were prepared to settle back and enjoy! We, senior citizens, enjoyed Doctor Thorne and look forward to the next Julian Fellowes offering. ( I hope he is teaching a Literature class somewhere to help future writers to learn how to adapt literature written in another period to contemporary times w/o having the characters compromise their truth - appropriate for the time in history - to engage a 21st century audience.
18 people found this helpful
LimeyReviewed in the United States on September 6, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Nice on the eye but the plot is too familiar
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Julian Fellowes has a well-earned reputation for bringing historical period dramas to the TV screen. The most successful and popular is probably “Downton Abbey”. “Dr. Thorne” is a TV adaption of a novel written by the great Victorian writer Anthony Trollope, which is part of Trollope’s collection known as the “Chronicles of Barsetshire”. I must admit that I have not read the original novels of Trollope, but I have seen a number of TV adaptions of his works (notably The Barchester Chronicles, He Knew He Was Right, The Way We Live Now and The Pallisers) and enjoyed them tremendously. I would not say that Julian Fellowes’ “Dr. Thorne” is "up there with the best of them", although it is worth watching. The acting, sets, countryside, period dress and “stately” homes, as we would expect, are very well done. But the plot is unfortunately a familiar one in many Victorian dramas. Beautiful heroine is poor and (how shocking!) “illegitimate”; she is therefore unacceptable in “good” society. She falls in love with the handsome and “eligible” son of aristocratic parents, who have no money but are well regarded in high society. Son reciprocates her love but is under terrible pressure to marry a rich American woman that he does not love in order to “save” the upper-class family’s finances (yes, it’s the usual rich American a.k.a. Downton Abbey). I don’t know whether to blame Julian Fellowes or Anthony Trollope, but Season 1 does become too predictable, despite the clever twist at the end, which however is also predictable in its own way, but I won’t say more on that, because I don’t want to be a “spoiler”! There is a modest attempt at variation by bringing in a hopeless young alcoholic who is super-rich but hated by all (including himself). Incidentally, there are four episodes but it is not clear if there might be a second Season. I would have given the series four stars on the basis of presentation but I deducted a star for the too-familiar plot. I also felt that the actor playing the son Frank (Harry Richardson) is not cast at all well. He has the looks but no real strength of character.
9 people found this helpful
P. M. Brockton, MAReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
The forgotten story of an era...
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Our story as human beings is like a play that is played by different actors wearing different costumes depending on the period but whose story line is the same. The TV series "Doctor Thorne" which is an adaption from a novel, is just that. It is a snapshot of the England Victorian era. I remain convinced that had the original author of that novel come back to life in the beginning of the 21st century and had decided to rewrite that novel, he wouldn't have a lot to change to change in the story (perhaps show some computers on some desks and put some tablets and cell phones in the hands of the characters, better yet show the privileged ones driving in one of our modern luxury cars instead of showing them riding on horse's back and carriages pulled by horses).

Julian Fellowes had used his talent to bring to the screen a story forgotten by so many English historians, "the story of the customs and habits" of an era. It is not at all difficult to recognize any human being of any history period through the characters depicted in that story. Lady Arabella doesn't want to lose her life style as an aristocrat and therefore she couldn't care less about her own son's love for the penniless Mary. Lady Arabella want her son to "marry money". And she is helped in that endeavor (or should I write 'endeavour') by her sister. Sir Roger Scatcherd's son, Louis, had learned the hard way that this father's fortune can't buy him happiness and most importantly, penniless Mary's love. The main character, Doctor Thorne, strikes us as a balanced and rational being. He recognized the power of money but at the same time is not intimidated by it.

Doctor Thorne is also a story of human betrayals. Case in point: Lady Augusta Gresham (played by Gwyneth Keyworth), one of the two Lady Arabella's daughters, confided in Lady Alexandrina de Courcy (Kate O'flinn) that the family's lawyer, Gatsby, asked to marry her. Using the social stigma attached to any person at that time who made a living by 'working for others', Lady Alexandrina advised Augusta to reject Gatsby's marriage proposal. Turns to find out it was because Lady Alexandrina wanted the lawyer for herself.The acting is superb, the photography breathtaking and the characters' costumes could not be more pleasing to the eyes. Every episode left the viewer asking for more.

Doctor Thorne is not just the story of the english Victorian era, it is the timeless story of us in which everybody is in pursuit of money and the one who is lucky enough to put his or her hands on it will rule as king or...queen (in the case of Mary Thorne).

To Julian Fellowes, I would like to say this: I am thirsty (already) for the next captivating (or should I say 'bewitching') story that you will bring on screen. Be honest with me, should I hold my breath?
10 people found this helpful
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