Thursday, 4 November 2010


I'm sure I've bored everyone rigid every time I say 'We don't watch much TV'. We watch quite a bit of BBC I-Player and loads of select videos; I'm a movie buff and can watch my collection repeatedly if I just space them a bit. The time when we're most likely to channel surf is after a video has finished and we can't quite rouse ourselves off the chaise lounge. I was doing just such a thing last Sunday when I stumbled onto Downton Abbey.

I'm aware that the romance of the whole Upstairs-Downstairs thing is a bit naff, like the way of life on Southern Plantations is dressed up in fluff.  I know fine well that had I lived in those times I would not be amongst those wearing the elegant ballgowns, nor would most of us.  I might just manage middle-class, but for women in those times it was all about whom one married and from what I've told you thus far, you'll know my record in that area isn't great.  Nevermind, TV is about escapism, right?  So, these are the reasons I'm loving Downton Abbey:
  • It's a costume drama - the clothes have me drooling.
  • It is set in 1912-14, not quite interwar but an interesting period nonetheless.
  • The setting is a breath-taking Edwardian country house in an English village.
  • It has Maggie Smith in it, which alone would make it wonderful.
  • There are other stars I recognise, such as Elizabeth McGovern. I must admit I've never thought that highly of her acting but she's excellent in this role. Another main character is Michelle Dockery, whom I recognise as the grand-daughter in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather video, which we have to watch every Christmas along with White Christmas. Anyone who make Pratchett more palatable must be extraordinarily gifted.
  • Last and probably the most important is the screenwriter for this series is Julian Fellowes, the screenwriter who created Gosford Park, which I've also professed to love in every 4th post here. 

If you've never read his book, Snobs, you've missed a treat. 

(While I'm at it I'll recommend Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen, as the two seem to go hand in hand). 

In my usual fashion, I've discovered this series halfway through its next-to-last episode; I never discovered the TV series M*A*S*H until it went into re-runs.  (I'm the same way with new fashions - I learn to like them just as they are going out...). British TV series are only for 6-7 weeks and I've never adapted to the brevity. Last I knew US series tended to run 12-13 weeks, don't they?  Ironically, the show airs on Sunday at 9pm, our usual bedtime. 

I understand the DVD set for the first series is or is about to be released, but I'll not put it on my Christmas list for now (I'd rather wait a while for the price to drop).  In the meantime, I can feed my addiction to the clothes on YouTube.  'Periodxdrama' has posted 8-9 minute clips that just about satisfy...but not quite.  I'm hoping that you can see these in the US if this sort of thing appeals.  I'd be amazed if it isn't available in the US; Fellowes is no fool.

If anyone hears about the next series coming up, please let me know!  I'm just going to have to stay up late on Sunday to get my last fix before it disappears!

1 comment:

The English Organizer said...

Ooh, great clothes plus MS and JF - winning combo, I agree.