A new year, a new beginning. And, you know what that means, right?
Today is Downton Abbey Friday, and we’re just two days away from the debut of Season Three!
Yes, America’s favorite Brit show returns this Sunday on PBS’ Masterpiece.
News flash: In Great Britain, it has already aired. Warning: If you are one of those who has already seen it, not a word! Please do not give anything away.
Downton Abbey has legions of fans across the world, including me, of course. Meditating Mummy, one of my blogger pals, is also a major fan and is joining me today in writing about it. (Be sure to check out her post, too!)
The series is set in the early part of the twentieth century, and has everything—love, betrayal, deceit, murder, budding romances, a miscarriage, a secret rendezvous or two, plot twists galore, and one dowager countess who is a hoot.
I can’t wait to discover what my favorite characters, the Crawley’s and their household staff, have been up to. When we last left off, the Great War had ended, Mr. Bates had been found guilty, and Lady Mary and Matthew had declared their undying love for one another in an engagement that was truly enchanting and magical in the beautiful glow of an evening’s gentle snowfall.
Though, I did wonder, couldn’t someone have given Mary an overcoat, for crying out loud? It was snowing for Pete’s sake, and there she was wearing nothing but a skimpy gown, albeit a gorgeous one. Very romantic, indeed, but come on! Let’s be practical, shall we?
Anyway, to me, Downton Abbey is a treasure of a show, wrapped in golden shimmery paper and brightly colored satin ribbons, with everything coming together rather nicely. I’m not just talking about the acting, the writing, the cinematography, the extraordinary costumes and the breathtaking castle that the Crawley family calls home. I’m also talking about the props. Even if the characters said nothing and simply stared at each other, I’d still enjoy it for the details. It’s fascinating to see how the other half—and the other half downstairs—lived. Cheeky stuff!
Of course, Downton Abbey is all about relationships. There’s Lady Mary and Matthew, and Lady Sybil and Branson, the chauffer. Also, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress wife, Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern (remember her in the film, Ragtime? She was amazing!) Then there’s Lady Edith, who can be persistently annoying and a tad too desperate.
Downstairs there’s Mr. Bates, an honorable man found guilty of killing his wife, and Anna who is so loyal to him I believe she’d do just about anything should he ask. My favorite downstairs couple aren’t a couple at all, but they’re viciously conniving and just bad eggs. I’m talking about Thomas and O’Brien who have been the cause of many a conundrum. However, I do enjoy the relationship between Mr. Carson, the butler, and Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, as well as the rapport between Mrs. Patmore, the cook, and Daisy, the poor, downtrodden scullery maid.
I would be remiss not to mention my hands-down favorite character: The Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, who is brilliantly witty and marvelous in this role. She has many memorable lines, but here but two that I liked so much, I had to write them down:
The Dowager, after learning that her granddaughter is upset over the death of a guest with whom she had a rendezvous: “Why? She doesn’t know him. One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a state of collapse every time we read the newspaper.”
The Dowager, after the estate has been converted into a hospital for the wounded during the Great War: “It’s like living in a second rate motel where the guests keep arriving and no one seems to leave.”
In honor of the series return–and the fact that it’s Downton Abbey Friday–I share with you a Q&A held last month with some of the cast during a visit to New York:
So watch, dear ones, if for no other reason than you never quite know what’s going to happen next and what the Dowager is going to say! Oh, and be sure to check out Meditating Mummy’s take on the series, too!
Favorite Dowager line from Season One: “What’s a weekend?” I got Seasons 1 & 2 for Christmas and watched it all to be ready for Season 3. Last night didn’t disappoint! Clearly, I’m late to the party on this show, but better late than never. Right?
Right! Glad you’re all caught up, Jayne. I’m excited about this season because they’re are more episodes in it, it seems, than in the past. I loved last night’s episode. Just wonderful!
I will watch, my hubby would love this and I would too. I have heard of it, but never watched it before!
Jodi, I hope you enjoy it immensely, as I do. Would love to know what you think! 🙂
I presume Monica that some of your blog followers may have seen Monarch of the Glen which was filmed in Scotland and sold all over the world. If they have then they may not realise that the person who played the Neighbour Kilwillie is the writer of the series Downton Abbey. In January 2011, he was made a life peer and is now formally known as Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.
There a bit of background for you all.
I’ve never seen this show, but you make it sound fascinating!
Debbie, try it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s beautiful to behold with great acting, great writing and amazing scenery. I love it!
No sooner did I read this yesterday, then I caught “Castles on Camera” on HGTV last night spotlighting Highclere Castle the location of this show. More here. Enjoy! http://www.hgtv.com/on-tv/castles-on-camera-hgtv-visits-the-real-downton-abbey/pictures/index.html There’s more surprises, too, that I won’t give away. Loved it.
Thanks for the link, Georgette. Can’t wait to check it out!
I haven’t seen this before but you’ve got me interested.
Totsy, it’s all about how the 1 percent lived in England in an era gone by. Things were changing thought–women’s rights, war, the telephone, and what not. Delicious plots abound!
I love Downton! I’m counting the minutes!
Me, too, Shary! Can’t wait! I’ve already seen the first hour of episode one and it is fabulous. Wait until you see it, and let me know what you think!
I’ve already ordered the Season 3 BBC series from Amazon. But I will watch until it arrives then I’ll have some mini marathons with my DVD player. Can’t wait!
Marie, I don’t think it’s going to arrive before the show ends on PBS. I think the release date for the DVD is end of January. Enjoy the show!
I so rarely watch anything, perhaps with you and so many others talking about it I will simply have to give in and ask for the seasons to catch me up.
Wonderful write up.
Yes, yes, Val, never to late to start watching. Each season is rather short and available through a number of sources. It’s a wonderful escape!
I can’t wait for the new season, Monica! Will there truly be a wedding for Lady Mary & Matthew? We can only hope. . .
Nancy, there’s going to be a wedding for sure. However, whose wedding? Only time will tell…
I’m chuffed. I’m heading over to Europe next week, so I missed the original airing. And by the time I get back here it will be half over. Guess I’ll have to pay the exorbitant rate to buy it. After all, I’m as hooked as you and as in love with Bates as Anna is.
Julie, instead of buying the DVD, if you have a DVR, consider recording the episodes while you’re away. That way, you’ll also be supporting your local PBS station through viewership. I’m all for that!
I adore Maggie Smith. I must admit that I became addicted to Downtown Abbey on Hulu. All too many people assumed I was watching it and told me that I would love it. They were right!
Maggie Smith is splendid. What a fun character she plays. I can’t wait to see her banter with Shirley MacLaine. Should be fun!
Your quite safe Monica I am not a fan, though the wife loves it.
Maggie Smith is a superb actress, you see her as one of the cast and you know what follows will be good.
Enjoy the series Monica.
Horrors! I can’t imagine not being a fan. Thank heavens your wife has good sense and is. You could learn a thing or two from her. 😉
Have you been comparing notes with her!!! She says that to me on a regular basis!!
Perfect post Monica. You’ve chosen the best lines for Maggie Smith. I’m so happy we did this together. How fun. I lost one of my photos as I was trying to post and then found it again – ahhh the drama 🙂
I can’t wait for this first episode, the anticipation alone is killing me and I have seen not one but two spoilers already, just as I was browsing – sigh!
MM, this was such a fun post to write and I’m glad we were able to do this as a team. Looking forward to enjoying seeing the Crawley’s again. Hugs to you, my friend!