Lord Grantham 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 countess. 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
Julian Fellowes' inspiration for his original story came from authors such as Edith Wharton ("The Buccaneers") and close friend Henry James's general research of the novel's time period and subject matter. He also sourced the 1989 book "To Marry an English Lord". Elizabeth McGovern's character Cora, was the first one that he developed. See more »
For the most part, none of the aristocratic characters in the series speak with the proper received pronunciation that would be accurate of the aristocracy of the time. See more »
I was hooked after the first five minutes and come heaven, hell or high water, I was going to see Downton Abbey twice, the second time to pick up the points which I knew would be too fast, and possibly convoluted, to follow the first time round. I have watched Masterpiece since the inaugural with Alistair Cooke, and I can't remember anything as engaging and entertaining as this. As a cousin of an English family with deep affection for the monarchy and respect for the aristocracy, my perspective is an odd mix of Democratic ideals, old-time Republican values and curiosity about and appreciation of the social structure which prevailed so long in England. Downton Abbey appears to present a very balanced depiction of the social, political, economic and historical forces which drove the lives and fortunes of the classes and produced strange and almost incomprehensible behavior to comply with an unwritten, all-pervasive code. I am completely fascinated by the events and reactions and what would appear to be almost puppet-like behavior on occasion. I pray for a sequel.
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