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Character with type 1 diabetes to feature in Downton Abbey?

04 February 2014

A report in the Mail on Sunday has claimed the next series of global television hit Downton Abbey could feature a character who lives with diabetes.

Although it is not known whether such a character would have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the former would seem most likely – as series creator Julian Fellowes is a proven supporter of type 1 diabetes issues.  

Such a development could prove fascinating considering the show’s historical setting, which is the era immediately after the discovery of insulin in 1921, and the first successful treatment with insulin in 1922. Before that date, a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes was a death sentence.

Series five of Downton Abbey will air on television later this year.

Last November, Julian Fellowes kindly allowed guests at a glamorous auction dinner to bid for the right to have a separate character in the next season created in their name.

The dinner in London was organised by Jubie Wigan to launch

Sugarplum Children, a new website and fundraising initiative for children who live with type 1 diabetes, and to raise money for JDRF.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive at JDRF, said: “It would be fascinating and moving to see a depiction of how an individual managed their type 1 diabetes in the early days of insulin availability. Such a portrayal could help to highlight just how much medical research has further improved lives, through treatment improvements, since that time.”

She added: “JDRF is committed to pushing forward this medical research story, until the day the cure for type 1 diabetes is found.”

Learn more about JDRF's research programmes research programmes. 

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