It seems like ever since that little British period drama we call Downton Abbey decided to call it a day after the upcoming sixth series, every series pitch, every series commission, every subsequent press announcement starts out by billing the proposed series as, “…the next Downton Abbey“. The most recent drama that has been tagged as the next “next Downton”, given filming has only just begun, seems to be mainly due to the stellar cast line-up and the fact they are in period costumes.
Starring Jessica Raine (An Adventure in Time & Space, Wolf Hall, Call The Midwife, Line of Duty), former Coronation Street actress Amy Kelly, Clarke Peters (The Wire, Notting Hill, Marley & Me) Hans Matheson (Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Doctor Zhivago, The Tudors) and written by Sherlock and Doctor Who writer Steve Thompson, Jericho tells the story of the shantytown of Jericho, home to a community that will live, thrive and die in the shadow of the viaduct they’ve been brought together to build in 1870’s Yorkshire.
Raine, who has been quite busy since she left Nonnatus House, stars as Annie Quaintain, a woman who refuses to let tragedy define her. Shattered by her husband’s death and penniless as he has gambled away everything they owned, Annie is turfed out of her home and shunned by former friends and neighbors. Together with her two teenage children, Annie leaves for Jericho in the hopes of re-building their lives.
At the end of the line is Jericho where they set out across the terrain carrying all their worldly possessions until they reach a frontier community which is bustling with life where they begin to determine just what lies ahead. Rising up from the floor of the valley are the first two arches of a magnificent railway viaduct which defines the community. With the help of Ralph Coates (Peters), Annie recognizes Jericho as a rare place of opportunity and relies on her only skill as a homemaker by opening a boarding house for the viaduct laborers.
Filming has begun in Yorkshire on the 8-part series which is targeted for a 2016 premiere. Unfortunately, there is no Dowager Countess but, who knows, it might just actually be the next “next Downton Abbey“.