IT’S been a very good week for the actor, writer and director Julian Fellowes, who saw his new ITV series Belgravia begin last Sunday, followed by last night’s debut of The English Game on Netflix.

Both have been critically acclaimed and while Fellowes has taken some liberties with the beginnings of football, he does accurately show that the Scots taught the English how to play the modern passing game which has been the accepted version of football ever since it came out of Scotland in the late 19th century.

Belgravia is adapted by Fellowes from his own novel of that name. He has written four other novels, Snobs and Past Imperfect, under his own name and two romantic novels published early in his career under the pen name of Rebecca Greville.


FELLOWES, 70, first came to prominence as an actor. He had been a member of the Footlights dramatic society at Cambridge University and went on to study acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

He began in repertory at the Royal Theatre in Northampton in 1973, where, among other roles, he played the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. He would later play several roles in the West End and was in the original cast of the play The Futurists at the National Theatre in 1986.

The National:

His family home in East Sussex was near to that of David Kingsley, head of the British Lion Film company, and Fellowes credits Kingsley with showing him that he could make a living in the film industry.

After a spell in minor roles in such series as the Duchess of Duke Street and Tales of the Unexpected, Fellows moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and acted in various television movies. He played the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, in the Scarlet Pimpernel, before returning to the UK where he became a familiar face and voice on screen.

In the long running Sharpe series he has the distinction of having played two different roles as the Prince Regent (again) in Sharpe’s Regiment and Major Dunnett in Sharpe’s Rifles.

In films in the 1990s, he played everything from the minister for defence in the Bond film Tomorrow never Dies to Wajman in the French crime drama Place Vendome. On television he played Claud Seabrook in Our Friends in the North before his long-running success as Lord Kilwillie in Monarch of the Glen. Even as he was playing Kilwillie, Fellowes had extraordinary success with his script for Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman, which won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2002.


WITH the Oscar in his display cabinet, and with plenty of time on his hands as he played Kilwillie and lived in Inverness, Fellowes moved to the other side of the camera and began writing screenplays and stage shows.

He wrote the book for the stage version of Mary Poppins in 2004, and the screenplay for the film Vanity Fair. Other screenplays followed, principally Young Victoria and Separate Lies, which he also directed.

His best-known creation was Downton Abbey, which he also produced, making him a very wealthy man. He also wrote the screenplay for last year’s cinema film version of Downton and adapted Anthony Trollope’s novel Doctor Thorne for a period piece on ITV.

In addition, he has written extensively for the theatre, writing the book for productions of School of Rock, Wind in the Willows and Half a Sixpence.Belgravia and The English Game are his latest successes and there is great anticipation for his American period drama The Gilded Age which he has spent years creating and writing – it should be out later this year.


SO you might think, especially because of the public school accent gained at Ampleforth College among others. Yes, he can be a proper snob but he is also reputed to be humorous and kindin person. His father, Peregrine Edward Launcelot Fellowes, was a diplomat and his paternal great-grandfather John Wrightson founded Downton Agricultural College – wonder where Fellowes got the name for his abbey?

David Cameron made him a Lord after the success of Downton Abbey and, as a staunch Tory, his place in the establishment has never been in doubt.

His maternal ancestry, however, was quite different. His grandfather Jim Jones was from Forfar where his mother, Fellowes’s great-grandmother, ran grocery store.

Jim moved to London to start as a clerk and married Scots-born Emily Mackintosh who was in domestic service. It was his grandmother Emily’s stories that gave Fellowes the idea for Downton Abbey.

Plain Jim Jones became James Stuart-Jones when he rose to become controller of the Central Telegraph Office and a CBE.

After his own marriage to Emma Kitchener, Julian added his own hyphen and he is now Lord Julian Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.


AS a confirmed Unionist, Fellowes is no lover of independence but he does know his Scottish history, Asked by our sister paper The Herald if he would ever write about Scotland, Fellowes said: “Scottish history is extremely interesting. Where the Scots were very fortunate, they were not conquered. So they were able to maintain their own legal system, their own educational system, their own indigenous land-owning class. They were able to retain their identity as a nation.”