Created by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey is a period Drama set in the English countryside. It revolves around the aristocratic Crawley Family and their bureaucracy of servants. Originally filmed and released in the United Kingdom, it was first aired on September 26, 2010. Later on, the show was released to the American audience on PBS network on January 9, 2011. The show has completed its five seasons and is currently running its sixth in the UK and Ireland. It was confirmed from the producers in March, 2015 that the series will be finalized with the sixth season.
Downton Abbey’s Story Line
Lord Grantham’s greatest mission in life is preserving and finding the rightful heir of his family heritage, the grand country home, Downton Abbey. Being a father of three girls, he was unable qto produce a male heir to inherit it all. The original heir to all of the Lord’s wealth, lost his life with the Titanic in 1912.This left Matthew Crawley, a distant cousin of Robert Crawley as the next in line as the heir of Downton Abbey. Michael is a lawyer in Manchester and he has his own life. While he agrees to come to the estate, he brings his socially engaged mother with him as well. This seems to create a not-so-unusual problem. She is often seen having clashes with the mother of Earl Of Grantham, the buttoned-down dowager countess. Other than this, the next big thing on the mind of the Lord is to get his daughters married off. Meanwhile, the staff serving the family works under the presidentship of the butler. The servants, who have led their whole life in the servants’ quarters, are seen to be intriguing among themselves.
Downton Abbey’s Star Cast
The main protagonist of the series Robert Crawley, is portrayed by the British actor Hugh Bonneville. With his family wealth and power as his top priority, Robert Crawley married a wealthy American, Cora, to gain her wealth, which could save the Downton estate from downfall. Over time, he eventually falls in love with his wife Cora Crawley and has three beautiful daughters with her. The series pictures the life struggles of Robert Crawley to save his family and maintain his dignity as a Lord.
Robert Crawley’s wife Cora Crawley, is played by Elizabeth McGovern. Cora is an ardent American, who voices out her thoughts frequently and knows how to keep up with the Earl. She gave birth to three daughters. Her eldest daughter, Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, has the most tumultuous life on the show. From the death of her fiancée in the catastrophic Titanic incident to her scandalous love affair with Pamuk and finally her marriage to Matthew Crawley, Mary has always had an adventure waiting before her. Robert and Cora’s second daughter, Lady Edith Crawley, portrayed by Laura Carmichael, is not given much importance, and often ignored in important decision making, unlike her sisters. This makes her pretty jealous of them. Their youngest daughter, Lady Sybil Crawley, played by Jessica Brown-Findlay, never grew out of her teenage rebellion stage. She is often seen going out of her way to do things that make her parents mad. She even dabbled with the politics for a while and later became a nurse to serve the wounded soldiers.
Matthew Crawley, portrayed by Dan Stevens, suddenly becomes the heir of the Downton fortune and is quite reluctant of the proposition. He continues to live his life as a middle-class lawyer in a nearby village of Downton. The role of Violet Crawley, is played by the comically gifted Maggie Smith. She faces many difficulties while accepting the changes in her life, such as the entry of telephone into the Downton Abbey. . Violet is very protective (often possessive) of her granddaughters. She goes to extra lengths to cover up for their mistakes. Matthew’s mother, Mrs. Isobel Crawley, played by Penelope Wilton, is in a word, busybody. She and her son live in a village near Downton Abbey. She is a woman with liberal values and shares a strained relationship with Dowager Countess. The other members of the cast include Anna Bates, the head housemaid (Joanne Froggatt), John Bates, Lord Grantham’s Valet (Brendan Coyle), Mr Carson (Tim Carter)’ Thomas Barrow, First Footman (Rob James-Collier), Sarah O’Brien, Lady’s maid (Siobhan Finneran), Daisy Robinson, kitchen maid (Sophie McShera)’ Ethel Parks, former Housemaid (Amy Nuttall), and others.
Downton Abbey’s Development
Depicting the life of an aristocratic family in the Yorkshire country estate Of Downton Abbey, the show was originally created by John Lunn in the United Kingdom and was later brought to the US television. The show has been filmed mostly in the Highclere Castle in the North Hampshire for the exterior shots and some internal areas such as the kitchen, servants’ quarters and working areas, and also at Ealing Studies for the shooting of upstairs bedrooms.
The complete series consists of six seasons, out of which the final and sixth season is currently running on the UK television. Broadcasting rights of Downton abbey were acquired by a total of 220 countries gaining a global audience of an estimated 120 million people.
Downton Abbey’s Success Story
Downton Abbey has proved itself to be a commercial success, gaining a great amount of critical acclaim for its script structure and acting. Many critics claimed the show to be a refreshing portrayal of the historical events perfectly blending with the drama. However, some critics took an opposite stand and called the show superficial, melodramatic and unrealistic. It gained an equal response from the audiences as well. Enjoyed by people in roughly 200 countries, the show has been readily accepted and favored by the worldwide audience. Over time, it has been successful in gaining many awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Films, BAFTA Award, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Miniseries, and many others. It gradually became the show which earned most of the nominations at Primetime Emmy Awards. It also became the most successful British costume drama series in the past century. Further, it was even recognized by the Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011. PBS is included on many cable television plans offered today.