Daily Archives: January 2, 2013

The Return of Downton!

downtonNew Downton Abbey episodes return to PBS Jan. 6! I have been trying to avoid spoilers from UK sites and happened across a picture that was a BIG giveaway. Bloody heck! All I will tell you is…OK I won’t say anything. To tide you over, we have some DVDs featuring Downton actors and other films from the creator that you may enjoy…

The author of Downton, Julian Fellowes, also wrote Gosford Park. This is the precursor and inspiration for Downton. It features an all-star cast including the Dowager Countess herself, Maggie Smith. Set in the 1930s, there is intrigue both upstairs and downstairs at a country estate. Another interesting Fellowes film is The Young Victoria. We always picture QV as the sad old lady in black but of course she was young, pretty and queen at age 18.gosford park

Hugh Bonneville has appeared in many  series. If you want to see him as the polar opposite of Lord Grantham, check out Daniel Deronda. He is deliciously evil! The Cazalets is also about a genteel English family, set in the time just before WWII.

As to the great Maggie Smith, where do I start?  In her role as the Dowager Countess in Downton she has already won two back to back Emmys and has two Golden Globe nominations. It’s hard to choose from her appearances, but The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a treat. It is a story about English retirees in India and features an all-star cast including the wonderful Penelope Wilton “Isobel Crawley” of Downton.  Also catch Dame Maggie’s Oscar winning performances in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (about an avant garde Scottish teacher) and California Suite. In the latter, she ironically WON an Oscar for playing an actress who LOSES the Oscar.

Downton Trivia:

  • Lady Mary’s scandal is based on a real life one that took place in a great English house around 1890.
  • Julian Fellowes is a lord himself, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.
  • Each episode costs around £1 million to make.
  • The role of the Dowager Countess was specifically written for  Maggie Smith.
  • In the United Kingdom women still can’t inherit peerages. Women can inherit the crown but in the past lost their place to any brother, even if younger. A law has just passed eliminating male primogeniture. Thus, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child (boy or girl) will be heir to the throne. A daughter would not lose her place to a younger brother.

For fun parodies, see Downton Arby’s and Uptown Downstairs Abbey. Ha ha ha!

Bide your time before Downton III @ Find Movies.

– Anne R., Reference Librarian at CADL Downtown Lansing