If you've been living under a rock, you might not have heard about Downton Abbey, the BBC Masterpiece Theatre Series that just ended its 2nd season run on Sunday nights. If you're one of the many who've fallen in love with Julian Fellows' masterpiece series, you understand that I'm already in the throws of withdrawals now that Season 2 has come to an end. Talk about brilliant writing!
Downton Abbey reintroduced millions to the theatrical genius of English television. The set, filmed mostly at Highclere Castle, Hampshire (owned by The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon) and Ealing Studios in West London, showcases the architectural magnificence of a bygone era. Scenes from Downton Abbey are filmed in front of the castle and on the 2nd floors. Scenes for Highclere Castle's kitchens, according to the Behind the Scenes snippet shown Sunday night, which no longer resembles the historical kitchen of the early 1900's, are filmed at Ealy Studios.
The cast is phenomenal! Headed by Dame Maggie Smith, (Yes! Professor Minerva McGonagall herself) cast as Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Downton's moral fiber appears above board. She says the darndest things.
Click here to see a YouTube video of Downton Abbey: Top 10 Maggie Moments.
What happens when old meets new? Find out here When A Dowager Countess Texts.
However, things are not as they appear. Her son, The Right Honourable Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) has wed an American Heiress, The Right Honourable Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (American actress, Elizabeth McGovern) in order to keep Downton Abbey afloat. Their 3 daughters, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), and Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) face an uncertain future when the Earl's heir dies aboard the Titanic. With 3 daughters and no sons, The Earl has no one left to inherit his estate, except... last living male relative, cousin Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens). A lawyer by trade, (Say it isn't so!), Matthew and his mother, Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) face ridicule and oftentimes comical attempts by the Dowager Countess to have him wed Lady Mary.
But alas! There is the scandal that is Pamuck!
Add in a butler, housekeeper, valet, servants and the cook and you've got mayhem of every order, tested by historical events and the encompassing theme that Downton Abbey must survive whatever befalls before and during WWI and Spanish Influenza.
If the characters and costumes don't win you over (they will!), watch it for the writing. Fellows uses masterful dialogue to engage his audience. When every episode is done, I sit in awe of his talent.
Twitter is alive with Downton Abbey fans. Using the hashtag #DowntonAbbey or #DowntonPBS, you can catch up on what Downton fans had to say Sunday night.
Both Seasons 1 & 2 can be found on amazon. I've already got Season 1 and just ordered Season 2. (Yea-us!!!) And if you're bored waiting for Season 3, you can play with these Downton Abbey paperdolls.
Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Who is your favorite character? And who do you think killed Mrs. Bates?