I may be the last person in the northern hemisphere (I’m trying to not be too dramatic here, but yes, I really mean the world) to watch the widely praised ITV series Downton Abbey. Accordingly, I will very likely not be the first to tell you that it is great. Granted, I am quite partial to period drama. When I was little I loved books like The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, and I’ve read Pride and Prejudice about twenty times since I first reached for it when I was about 12 years old (as I’d already read everything else at home and wasn’t really bursting with excitement at the thought of sitting down with For Whom the Bell Tolls). I wanted to be Elizabeth Bennet. Or Jane Austen herself. Or just anyone who knew them, nevermind the fact that the former is fictional. So it’s not all that surprising that I’ve completely fallen for the goings-on at Downton Abbey.
Just in case you happen to be that other person on earth who hasn’t watched it yet; do it! Especially if you’ve previously enjoyed movies like Pride & Prejudice (although I much prefer the BBC series), Sense and Sensibility, Gosford Park or series like Upstairs Downstairs – which I somehow haven’t seen. Downton Abbey follows the lives of Lord and Lady Crawley, their three daughters and extended family, as well as the lives of their multiple servants during the second decade of the 20th century. The first episode actually begins with the family receiving news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The costumes and sets are exquisite, the script is excellent and Maggie Smith is amazing as the stubborn, outspoken Dowager Countess of Grantham.
I give you a tiny bit of dialogue:
Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith): “You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.”
Mrs. Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
Lady Grantham: “I must’ve said it wrong.”
Just go watch it, yes?