Riding the coattails of "Downton Abbey" popularity, "Jamestown" made landfall in the U.K. last week and is hoping to come to the United States.
The new show aims to educate its audience on the state's history.
"Jamestown" is an eight-part drama series set in 1619 that follows the early days of the first permanent English settlers as they embark on their new lives, according to a news release from the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration. The 2019 Commemoration hasn't found a network to air the show on yet.
"We hope the series entices viewers to learn more about the real history in the historic places and properties in Virginia," said Kathy Spangler, executive director of the 2019 Commemoration.
The 2019 Commemoration is focused on showing how Virginia has changed over the years and highlights key influences. 2019 will mark the 400th year since African slaves arrived with settlers to the country, the first meeting of the House of Burgesses, the arrival of the first large group of women settlers, the first official English Thanksgiving and the first representative legislative assembly in the New World.
The cast of male settlers includes Max Beesley, Jason Flemyng, Dean Lennox-Kelly, Shaun Dooley, Stuart Martin, Steven Waddington, Matt Stokoe and Burn Gorman. The female settlers are played by Naomi Battrick, Sophie Rundle and Niamh Walsh.
"Jamestown" premiered on Sky 1 in the United Kingdom on May 5.
Spangler said she saw the first episode and was impressed.
"It had a number of twists and turns. It was very much a dramatic series," Spangler said. "The first episode focused heavily on the women's arrival, which is one of the historic elements of the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration."
Carnival Films, which produced "Downton Abbey," also produced "Jamestown."
"During the later seasons of 'Downton Abbey' I was thinking about the formula of the show, the ensemble nature of the cast, the close-defined precinct and the very clear central mission that the characters were involved in. I wondered if there was another world to immerse ourselves in, where we could enter another single precinct and follow and root for a group of characters," said Gareth Neame, executive producer, in a news release.
Spangler said she hopes people will watch the show and have a better understanding on how history relates to the world today.
"I hope this series brings visibility to Virginia and the 400-year history that really has help America become what it is today. We hope it builds curiosity to learn more," Spangler said.
Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.
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