Episode 5: The Executive Producer of Downton Abbey shares how the show was created

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Welcome to Episode 5 of Setbacks and Success.

And in this episode, let me take you back to 2008.

One winter’s evening Gareth Neame a British television producer, took his friend Julian Fellows, an Oscar winning screen-writer, out for dinner in London.

Neame asked if Fellows would be interested in writing a historical period drama based in England, depicting an aristocratic family and their domestic servants.

At first, Neame was unsure if Fellows had any interest.

However…a few weeks later Fellows emailed some ideas.

3 years later, Downton Abbey was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series ever!

By the third series, it had become one of the most widely watched television drama shows in the world!!

In this episode of Setbacks & Success, Gareth Neame shares how Downton Abbey went from a conversation over dinner, to become one of the most loved tv series ever.


  • How a casual conversation over dinner resulted in the idea for Downton Abbey (7:45)
  • How shows such as E.R. and the West Wing were used as inspiration (12:25)
  • How Gareth was told that ‘nobody in the United States will be interested in this show’ (20:29)
  • How perseverance is key so long as you are doing something that you really believe in (23:55)
  • And much more….

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