Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard R.M.S. Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), 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
Downton Abbey is intended to be situated in the York Plain of North Yorkshire - characters occasionally refer to Thirsk and Ripon as being local towns. However in scenes of the village streets of Downton, the buildings are made of sandy Cotswold stone (as found in Bampton, Oxfordshire where these scenes were filmed), unlike the darker types of stone that are generally found in Yorkshire. See more »
This is beautifully filmed, with authenticity and societal values inherent in both script and acting. The story weaves in and out of two layers of society -- the masters and the servants -- giving us glimpses into the power struggles occurring on each level, and the colourful characters who inhabit both. I particularly enjoy seeing the large-scale production involved in taking care of a household of this magnitude, and the care taken with all the details. Given today's rapid pace, it's almost peaceful to watch this deliberately slowed pace, and to get a genuine sense of what it was like to be an estate-owner in this period. Housemaids who gossip, independent young men who don't appreciate the butler's code of honour, catty women and genteel sophisticates all combine to make this a very enjoyable romp among the rich of yesteryear!
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