Torchwood’s John Barrowman to Star in ABC Period Drama Pilot, “Gilded Lilys”

Everybody wants to be like Downton Abbey! ABC is currently developing its own period drama pilot for next season called Gilded Lilys. The project is being described as an upstairs-downstairs look at the opening of the first true luxury hotel built in New York City in 1895.

Now the American costume drama is set to have a very British lead – Torchwood and Doctor Who star John Barrowman has joined the cast for the pilot (and presumably the series, should it get picked up). Barrowman will play Julius Ashford Lily (see, the “Lilys” of the title are the family, get it?), the charming playboy son of the family

Produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsey Beers (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice), the series boasts an already impressive cast list, including Brian F. O'Byrne, Blythe Danner, Madeline Zima, Matt Lauria, Matt Long, Brigid Brannagh, Maury Sterling and Sarah Bolger.

Barrowman is fantastic, obviously, and I'm quite fond of Bolger thanks to her great performance on The Tudors but I’m not sure what to think of this pilot. It’s clearly trying to take advantage of America’s current mania for costume productions (thanks, Downton!). To be frank, I’m not instantly in love with the concept, but I'm at least a little bit curious. So we’ll see how we go.

And while I still expect to see Barrowman return to Doctor Who for some sort of appearance (even if it’s tiny) during the 50th anniversary festivities next year, I do wonder what this pilot means for the likely future of Torchwood. If this series is successful, have we seen the last of Gwen and Captain Jack?

Source: TV Guide

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Twitter at @LacyMB