For all of those North Americans who didn’t get to see Downtown Abbey when it was on YouTube (and who missed my earlier posts on the subject), I must remind you that it’s on PBS’s Masterpiece Classic tomorrow night. It’s as entertaining a soap opera as you’ll see and you won’t regret watching it. Dame Maggie Smith is her usual wonderful self as Violet Grantham, the Dowager Countess Grantham. Hugh Bonneville plays her son, the current Earl, and Elizabeth McGovern is his wife, Cora, the current Countess. They have 3 daughters, none of whom can inherit the earldom and, because of the entail, they cannot inherit their mother’s money either.
So, enter the new heir. The old heir, who had been engaged to the eldest daughter, Mary, has died, so an even more distant cousin must be found. This cousin is played by the adorable Dan Stevens (a man who had the very difficult job of making Edward Ferrars sexy), a solicitor who arrives on the scene with his mother, Mrs. Crawley (Isobel).
We also get to meet the servants who take care of the Granthams. Downstairs is the responsibility of Mr. Carter (the butler) and Mrs. Hughes (the housekeeper), who run a very tight ship. Except for the first footman and the lady’s maid, that is.
I don’t want to spoil it anymore. It’s wonderful and anyone who likes period dramas should expect to like it. A season 2 is in the works, and it should start filming shortly. I am planning to buy the DVDs when I get the chance, and am looking forward to watching it whenever I want. Remember, there will be a couple of scenes cut from the original ITV broadcast, but hopefully this new version will still be watchable.