Julian Fellowes

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The Lord Fellowes of West Stafford
Julian Fellowes May 2014 (cropped).jpg
Lord Fellowes at an event for Downton Abbey at Paramount Studios, May 2014
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
13 January 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister David Cameron
Personal details
Born Julian Alexander Fellowes
(1949-08-17) 17 August 1949 (age 66)
Cairo, Egypt
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Emma Joy Kitchener (1990–present)
Children 1
Alma mater Magdalene, Cambridge
Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor, novelist, screenwriter, film director
Religion Roman Catholicism

Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, DL (born 17 August 1949) is an English actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter, and a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

Fellowes is primarily known as the author of several Sunday Times best-seller novels; for the screenplay for the film Gosford Park, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002; and as the creator, writer and executive producer of the multiple award-winning British television series Downton Abbey (2010–2015).

Early life and education[edit]

Fellowes was born in Cairo, Egypt, the youngest son of Canadian-born Peregrine Edward Launcelot Fellowes and his British wife, Olwen Mary née Stuart-Jones.[1] His father was a diplomat and Arabist who campaigned to have Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, restored to his throne during World War II.[1] He has three older brothers: Nicholas Peregrine James, wordsmith David Andrew, and playwright Roderick "Rory" Olivier.[2]

His childhood home was in Wetherby Place, South Kensington,[3] and afterwards at Chiddingly in East Sussex, where he lived from August 1959 until November 1988, and where his parents are buried. The house in Chiddingly, which had been owned by the whodunit writer Clifford Kitchin, was within easy reach of London where his father, who had been a diplomat, worked for Shell. Fellowes has described his father as one "of that last generation of men who lived in a pat of butter without knowing it. My mother put him on a train on Monday mornings and drove up to London in the afternoon. At the flat she'd be waiting in a snappy little cocktail dress with a delicious dinner and drink. Lovely, really." A decided influence to arise from this place was the friendship that developed with another family in the village, the Kingsleys. David Kingsley was head of British Lion Films, the company responsible for many Peter Sellers comedies. Sometimes "glamorous figures" would visit the Kingsleys' house. Fellowes has said that he thinks he "learnt from David Kingsley that you could actually make a living in the film business".[4]

Fellowes was educated at several private schools in Britain: first at Wetherby School (Wetherby Place, South Kensington, London), then at St. Philip's, a Roman Catholic pre-preparatory school, also in Wetherby Place – Fellowes is a "cradle Catholic" – and finally at the Catholic public school Ampleforth College. He read English Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was a member of Footlights, and graduated with the degree of MA.[5] He studied further at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.



Fellowes moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and played a number of small TV roles for the next two years. He believed that his breakthrough had come when he was considered to replace Hervé Villechaize as the butler on the TV series Fantasy Island, but the role went to actor Christopher Hewett instead.[6] He was unable to get an audition for the Disney film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (1985) in Los Angeles, but was offered the role when he was visiting England. When he asked the film's director why he was not able to get an interview in Los Angeles, he was told that they felt the best actors were in Britain.[7]

Fellowes decided to move back to England to further his career, and in 1991 he played Neville Marsham in Danny Boyle's For the Greater Good. Other notable acting roles included the part of Claud Seabrook in the acclaimed 1996 BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North and the 2nd Duke of Richmond in the BBC drama serial Aristocrats. He portrayed George IV as the Prince Regent for the second time (the first was in the 1982 film The Scarlet Pimpernel) in the 1996 adaptation of Bernard Cornwell's novel Sharpe's Regiment, and Major Dunnett in Sharpe's Rifles. He also played the part of Kilwillie in the television series Monarch of the Glen. He appeared as the leader of "The Hullabaloos" in the television adaptation of Arthur Ransome's "Coot Club", "Swallows and Amazons Forever!"

Aside from acting, he launched a new series on BBC One in 2004, Julian Fellowes Investigates: A Most Mysterious Murder, which he wrote and introduced onscreen. He was the presenter of Never Mind the Full Stops, a panel-based game show broadcast on BBC Four from 2006 to 2007. He created the hugely successful and critically acclaimed period drama Downton Abbey for ITV1 in 2010.[8] He wrote a new Titanic mini-series that was shown on ITV1 in March–April 2012.[9]

In April 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Fellowes was at work on a new period drama series for NBC television, to be set in late 19th-century New York City, entitled The Gilded Age.[10] In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Fellowes suggested that a younger version of Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess character from his Downton Abbey drama might appear in the new series, saying: "Robert Crawley would be in his early teens, Cora would be a child. A young Violet [the Dowager Countess] could make an appearance."[10] As the title suggests, the series would be set during the time of America's so-called Gilded Age – the industrial boom era in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – and portray the upper echelons of New York's high society during that period.[10]


Fellowes wrote the script for Gosford Park, which won the Oscar for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen in 2002.[11] In late 2005, Fellowes made his directorial début with the film Separate Lies, for which he won the award for Best Directorial Début from the National Board of Review.[12]

In 2009, Momentum Pictures and Sony Pictures released The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt, for which Fellowes wrote the original screenplay. Other screenwriting credits include Vanity Fair, The Tourist and From Time to Time, which he also directed, and which won Best Picture at the Chicago Children's Film Festival, the Youth Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, Best Picture at the Fiuggi Family Festival in Rome, and the Young Jury Award at Cinemagic in Belfast. His greatest commercial success was The Tourist, which grossed US$278 million worldwide, and for which he co-wrote the screenplay with Christopher McQuarrie and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.[13]

Other films in which Fellowes has appeared include Full Circle (1977), Priest of Love (1981), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Damage (1992), Shadowlands (1993), Jane Eyre (1996), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Regeneration (1997) and Place Vendôme (1998). He has continued his acting career while writing. He unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Master of Lake-town in the 2012-2014 The Hobbit series.[11]


Fellowes' novel Snobs was published in 2004. It focuses on the social nuances of the upper class and concerns the marriage of an upper middle-class girl to a peer. Snobs was a Sunday Times best-seller. In 2009 his novel Past Imperfect was published. Another Sunday Times best-seller, it deals with the débutante season of 1968, comparing the world then to the world of 2008. He also wrote, under the pseudonym Rebecca Greville, several romantic novels in the 1970s.[14]


As an actor, Fellowes has appeared in several West End productions, including Samuel Taylor's A Touch of Spring, Alan Ayckbourn's Joking Apart and a revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter. He appeared at the National Theatre in The Futurists, written by Dusty Hughes. As a writer, he penned the script to the West End musical Mary Poppins, produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Disney, which opened on Broadway in December 2006. In December 2014, it was revealed that his next project would be a Broadway-bound musical, School of Rock.[15]

Writing credits[edit]

List of television, film and theatre credits
Title Year Medium Notes
Gosford Park 2001 Film Won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Mary Poppins 2004 Theatre Adapted from the novels by P. L. Travers and the 1964 film directed by Robert Stevenson; screenplay by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi
Vanity Fair 2004 Film Screenplay; based upon the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Julian Fellowes Investigates 2004 Television Writer and Creator; Also Actor
Piccadilly Jim 2004 Film Screenplay based on the novel by P G Wodehouse
Separate Lies 2005 Film Screenplay; based upon the novel by Nigel Balchin; Also Director
The Young Victoria 2009 Film Original Screenplay
From Time to Time 2009 Film Written by Fellowes, based upon the novel by Lucy M. Boston; Also Director
The Tourist 2010 Film Screenplay polish
Downton Abbey 2010 - 2015
(Series One to Six)
Television Creator, Executive Producer &
Writer (Co-written episodes four and six of Season One with Shelagh Stephenson and Tina Pepler respectively)
Titanic 2012 Television Writer of the four-part ITV1 produced miniseries.
Romeo and Juliet 2013 Film Screenplay; adapted from the play by William Shakespeare
Crooked House 2013 Film Script; Adaptation of the novel by Agatha Christie
Gypsy 2013 Film Screenplay and Script; Remake of the classic musical starring Ethel Merman


On 13 January 2011, Fellowes was elevated to the peerage, being created Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, of West Stafford in the County of Dorset,[16] and on the same day was introduced in the House of Lords,[17] where he sits on the Conservative Benches.[18]

Fellowes' other interests[edit]

Fellowes is Chairman of the RNIB appeal for Talking Books. He is a Vice-President of the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust[19] and Patron of a number of charities: the south-west branch of Age UK, Changing Faces, Living Paintings, the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity and Breast Cancer Haven. He also supports other causes, including charities concerned with the care of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He recently opened the Dorset office of the south-west adoption charity, Families for Children.

Fellowes sits on the Appeal Council for the National Memorial Arboretum and is a Patron of Moviola, an initiative aimed at facilitating rural cinema screenings in the West Country.[20] He also sits on the Arts and Media Honours Committee.


In March 1981, Fellowes wrote to The Times newspaper in indignation at the MP Geoffrey Dickens' taunting of his fellow parliamentarians about the identity of a paedophile whose name he was about to reveal. In the version of the letter that was published in The Times, Fellowes said: "The feeblest student of human nature must surely be aware of how slight the connexion between pornography and practices need be. To flirt with fetishes is hardly rare in the best circles [...] now he has to have his life, public and private, more thoroughly smashed than if he had murdered his kinsman in broad daylight."[21]

The man in question turned out to be Sir Peter Hayman, who had been arrested for possessing a large amount of paedophile pornography. Fellowes maintained that his letter was not intended as a defence of Hayman, who was a stranger to him, so much as an attack on Dickens' "enjoyment" of the power granted by parliamentary privilege.[22]


On 28 April 1990, Fellowes married Emma Joy Kitchener LVO (2000) (born 1963) a Lady-in-Waiting to HRH Princess Michael of Kent. She is also a great-grandniece of Herbert, 1st Earl Kitchener.[23] On 15 October 1998 the Fellowes family changed its surname from Fellowes to Kitchener-Fellowes.[24][25][26]

Lord Fellowes publicly expressed his dissatisfaction that the proposals to change the rules of royal succession were not extended to hereditary peerages, which had they been would have allowed his wife to succeed her uncle as The Countess Kitchener in her own right. As he put it "I find it ridiculous that, in 2011, a perfectly sentient adult woman has no rights of inheritance whatsoever when it comes to a hereditary title."[27] Instead, the title became extinct on her uncle's death because there were no male heirs. On 9 May 2012, The Queen issued a Royal Warrant of Precedence granting Lady Emma Fellowes the same rank and style as the daughter of an Earl, as would have been due to her if her late father had survived his brother and therefore succeeded to the earldom.[28]

Lord Fellowes and his wife have one son, the Honourable Peregrine Charles Morant Kitchener-Fellowes (born 1991).[25]

Fellowes was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset in 2009.[29] He is also Lord of the manor of Tattershall in Lincolnshire[30] and President of the Society of Dorset Men. Their main family home is in Dorset.[31]

His wife, now Lady Fellowes, was story editor for Downton Abbey and works with charities.[26]


Arms of Julian Fellowes
Coronet of a Baron
A Lion's Head erased Or the Erasure fimbriated Gules gorged with a Collar dancettée Pean crowned with a Mural Coronet with three Crenelations manifest Or masoned Sable.
Azure a Fess dancettée Erminois between three Lions’ Heads erased Or each charged on the neck with a Covered Cup Gules.
Dexter: a Camel Or langued Gules plain gorged and with Bridal trappings and line pendent reflexed over the back Azure. Sinister: a Tortoise Azure langued Gules the shell Or.
Post Proelia Praemia (After battle comes reward)[32]

Styles and titles[edit]

  • Julian Fellowes, Esq. (1949–1998)
  • Julian Kitchener-Fellowes, Esq. (1998–2009)
  • Julian Kitchener-Fellowes, Esq., DL (2009–2011)
  • The Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, DL (2011–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Segrave, Elisa (30 April 1999). "Obituary: Peregrine Fellowes". The Independent. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Walker, Tim (9 May 2013). "Downton Abbey Creator's Brother Comes Out Fighting with New Play". The Daily Telegraph. 
  3. ^ Staff (18 December 2011). "Julian Fellowes Baron Fellowes of West Stafford". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  4. ^ The Sunday Times, Not quite Gosford Park,18 December 2005
  5. ^ The Sunday Times profile of Julian Fellowes, p. 31 dated 21 November 2010
  6. ^ Witchel, Alex (8 September 2011). "Behind the Scenes With the Creator of 'Downton Abbey'". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Julian Fellowes Interview". YouTube. Emmy TV Legends. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Downton Abbey, itv.com; accessed 13 June 2015.
  9. ^ Starr, Michael (22 March 2011). "Titanic Coming to TV". New York Post. 
  10. ^ a b c Alex Ritman - "Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess May Appear in Julian Fellowes' New NBC Drama; 'The Gilded Age' could feature a younger version of the character, said Fellowes", The Hollywood Reporter, April 6, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-10
  11. ^ a b Gilbert, Matthew (5 January 2013). "Julian Fellowes and 'Downton Abbey'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Debrett's People of Today
  13. ^ "The Tourist". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Julian Fellowes profile". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock Will Shake Up Broadway Next Fall". Playbill. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: no. 59672. p. 615. 17 January 2011.
  17. ^ House of Lords Minute of Proceedings of Thursday 13 January 2011.
  18. ^ Sweney, Mark (19 November 2010). "Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes to become Tory peer". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  19. ^ www.weld-hospice.org.uk
  20. ^ "Moviola News and Events". Moviola. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  21. ^ The Times letter quoted, DS Forums, 09-03-2013.
  22. ^ "Daily Mail". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  23. ^ Mosley, Charles (ed.) (2003). Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 107th edn. London: Burke's Peerage & Gentry Ltd. p. 2207 (KITCHENER OF KHARTOUM AND OF BROOME, E). ISBN 0-9711966-2-1. 
  24. ^ The London Gazette: no. 55307. p. 12197. 10 November 1998.
  25. ^ a b Lynn, Barber (28 November 2004). "Jolly good Fellowes". The Observer (London, UK). Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Fellowes, Julian (December 2012). "The Most Happy Fellowes". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  27. ^ Julian Fellowes: inheritance laws denying my wife a title are outrageous
  28. ^ "London Gazette". 23 May 2012. p. 9975. 
  29. ^ The London Gazette: no. 58757. p. 10149. 7 July 2008.
  30. ^ Profile of the Lord and Lady of the Manor at Tattersall with Thorpe.co.uk
  31. ^ "Writer buys his own Gosford Park" (Daily Telegraph)
  32. ^ Zhong, Raymond (3 February 2013). "The Anti-Snobbery of 'Downton Abbey'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]