Writer Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) has created interesting and likable characters without the need to submerge them into over emotional dialog and performances. Much of what is 'said' is done with body language alone.
Much of the first episode gets some of the family history, legal status and staff hierarchy details out of the way.
As you can expect the cast and acting is first rate and the photography, scenery and attention to detail is perfect. The script (so far) is not insulting or annoying... which is a pleasant surprise.
After being continually disappointed by the quality of British TV drama over the last few years with it's insipid devotion to a teenage audience it's very satisfying to be able to report that this one finally seems to be headed for an intelligent, discerning and adult audience.
Get your best china out, cut the crusts off those cucumber sandwiches, relax into the Chesterfield and enjoy! Sunday nights in front of the box are back!