Monday, 3 January 2011

Downton Abbey

Thanks to a little tip off from Miss Cornelia, the Duchess of Teslace, I've been made aware of a TV miniseries called Downton Abbey.

Written by Julian Fellowes who seems to make a speciality of Edwardian drama, having written the screenplay for Gosford Park as well as portraying people such as Winston Churchill and George IV during his acting, again brings the lives of the aristocracy vs. their servants into scrutiny.

The Earl of Grantham, his wife, three daughters and a multitude of servants currently live in Downton Abbey. The first episode opens with news that the Earl's cousin, the Heir Presumptive, and his son are both among those lost aboard the Titanic. It turns out that under the inheritance entailment that whoever becomes the new Earl will also inherit the entirety of the Estate. The miniseries follows the twists and turns of the family up until the start of World War 1.

English inheritance law has been the subject of drama before, most notably in Dickens' Bleak House. Viewing numbers for the ITV production were impressive to the point where it has been confirmed a second series will go into production. However executives at PBS, who have bought American screening rights, are a little concerned that the detailed plot might be too much for their audience and plan to cut 2 hours out of the 8 hours of the series. Rebecca Eaton, an executive producer for the PBS network admits that American audiences demand a 'different speed' to their shows. And because they're taking an axe to it PBS also believes its audiences will need an American to outline the key themes of the show so Laura Linney is going to give an introduction to the series.

I'm surprised they haven't added subtitles to help poor American audiences cope with the Northern accents of the servants.

Frankly I would urge potential American viewers to contact PBS letting them know that despite a seemingly endless supply of "reality" shows you do not have the IQ of a goldfish and would prefer to see the series in its entirety.


Fogwoman Gray said...

Thank you for the lovely review, I shall immediately...
...ooh shiny!!

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

Look out for the new Upstairs, Downstairs from the BBC too - this is set in 1936 and the social gulf between the two shows is amazing.

HeadBurro Antfarm said...

Oh, and ITV announced that the next series of Downton will be out in Autumn 2011 :)

Animaladas said...

I can only take my hat off to the impressive roster of talent and skill of the English series. I really hope to continue producing more things like this in the factory yours to the delight of all.
It's just perfect the atmosphere of the time and classes cohabit in it. And then you come to mind the equally wonderful "Upstairs, Downstairs", although old, is still a benchmark.
It's a series for lovers of vintage series, craftsmanship and drama students in our country.

Piscinas Prefabricadas said...

A very well worn out series, with scenes and the only sets. I am charmed with it since they have done everything. In addition the actors are very good.