An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.
Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative mother, the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwhile, the butler presides over a staff which serves the family, but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants' quarters, intriguing amongst themselves. Written by
Although Robert and Cora Crawley both have blue eyes, their daughter, Mary, has brown eyes. This was thought biologically impossible in the Davenport Model (1907), although not very common, two blue-eyed parents can produce children with brown eyes. Eye color is a complex trait that depends on the state of several interacting genes. The gene that usually decides the issue (blue eyes or brown eyes) is the OCA2 gene on chromosome 15. But it comes in different strengths. A person with a weak form of the OCA2 gene will have blue eyes. Likewise a person with a strong form will have brown eyes, but individuals also have other eye-color genes that each has a say in the final eye-color outcome. For example, if one of these lesser genes is strong, it can make the weak form (blue) of OCA2 work much more effectively - almost like the strong form (brown). Then the eye color may be brown. In fact, the resulting color can be any shade of brown, hazel, green or blue depending on the interactions. See more »
For me at least Downton Abbey was elegant, controlled and subtly witty. The scenery, of course, is very good. (anyone interested can find short interviews with actor Hugh Bonneville and writer Julian Fellowes via youtube and be infected with their enthusiasm as well as getting an explanation, if you need one, of the setting) The house is suitably dramatic and the fabrics, the costumes, the camera shots of ringing bells and curious meal courses in the form of fences of asparagus, the morning light, or lit windows across the lawn, and the smooth work of all the actors make it something to watch and be both interested and relaxed. There is just enough drama and just enough calm, nothing seems overdone, and (after two episodes) the characters, as it switches between moments of their various days, are none of them an unwelcome change from the view of the last. It is a costume drama but 1912 after all was just as real as 2010 and it is, quite separate from costumes, about people, several different people, house workers and owners, their motives, their histories, pain, relationships, scheming allegiances, awkwardness or ease, old ways and the coming of those things we now call modern electric lights, the middle class Enjoyable so far. However, if you find these things dull, if you need constant shocks, use the word inoffensive as an insult or dislike all period dramas, scenery or rich people stay away. It's not hard to do.
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