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BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  The World Beyond BetterMost  |  The Culture Tent (Moderator: Sheriff Roland)  |  Topic: Have you been watching Downton Abbey? 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Have you been watching Downton Abbey?  (Read 33599 times)
Aloysius J. Gleek
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« on: January 08, 2011, 03:12:43 pm »

Also posted April 08, 2011 in the Culture Tent thread:
Upstairs Downstairs, 165 Eaton Square....2011! (Well, 1936, but who's counting)
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,48962.msg608363.html#msg608363



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2010/oct/21/downton-abbey-tv-series?INTCMP=SRCH



Have you been watching …
Downton Abbey?

Ostensibly a drama about the inheritance of a house, all it's
really about is sex – and I haven't been this hooked for ages


by Viv Groskop
Thursday 21 October 2010 13.14 BST

guardian.co.uk


Downton Abbey: Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham


Downton Abbey  pitched itself hugely ambitiously from the start. There was a footman trying to have gay sex with any willing visiting aristocrat; a disinherited lady throwing herself at any man who would look at her (often the very men the footman was targeting); and a house guest who ravished that same lady only to expire, somewhat inconveniently, while performing the carnal act a little too vigorously, necessitating a midnight relocation of his corpse.

Blimey. I cannot remember a costume drama with storylines this juicy, as bonkers as they are strangely believable. Of course, we have Julian "Gosford Park" Fellowes to thank: he is the master of high camp amidst class tensions. And with Downton Abbey  he has achieved a slow boil that is truly delicious.

Although this is ostensibly a drama about the inheritance of a house, all it's really about is sex. Check out the new chauffeur – a socialist! – peering through the drawing room window to catch a glimpse of wannabe suffragette Lady Sybil wearing a daring pair of pantaloons! See how Bates, the valet with the dodgy leg, struggles with a tray romantically festooned with flowers for Anna the head housemaid! Marvel at the stiff upper lips of Carson, the butler, and Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, both locked to Downton – and to each other — by destiny. Not that they yet know it.

The driving force of the plot is a will-they-won't-they dynamic designed to keep us guessing to the end of the series. We can already see Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) warming to Matthew (Dan Stevens), the commoner who has inherited her family's estate. But her sister Lady Edith is also gooey for him, taking him on a none-too-subtle tour of local churches. Bring on the posh sisters' bitch fight! My prediction is that Lady Mary and Matthew will get it on eventually and it will seem as if the estate has been saved… only for Lady Edith to poison one of them.

That's if Downton Abbey 's two brilliant baddies don't torch the place first: the wonderfully evil Thomas, second footman, and acidly depressed O'Brien, lady's maid, each more conniving than any Bond villain. The gigantic chips on Thomas's and O'Brien's shoulders pose a far larger threat to Downton than any inheritance shenanigans. I already suspect Thomas of putting about the (100% true) rumour about Lady Mary's lack of virtue, the rotten cad.

I have not been this glued to a series since Stephanie had her face chewed off by a crocodile in Return to Eden.  But is it all getting a bit too pantomime at the expense of quality drama? Will Dame Maggie Smith's eyes pop out of her head by the end of the series? And is there anywhere left to go after sex with a dead Turkish diplomat?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 11:33:11 pm by Meryl » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 03:27:16 pm »



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/nov/06/downton-abbey-itv-last-episode?INTCMP=SRCH




Downton Abbey fans brace
for farewell

Downton Abbey has been ITV's most successful costume drama
since Brideshead Revisited, and a second series is on the way


by Viv Groskop
Saturday 6 November 2010

guardian.co.uk


Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey


It is our last chance to swoon over the romance between Bates, the master's valet, and Anna, the head housemaid; to savour every last delicious glower from Dame Maggie Smith as the wild-eyed dowager countess. Tomorrow evening, a legion of fans will be perched on the edge of their sofas. Oh, Downton Abbey,  how we will miss you.

With viewing figures topping 11.6 million, this is ITV's most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited  launched the careers of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. Over the past seven weeks, the nation has been gripped by the Upstairs Downstairs  carryings-on at the Crawley family seat. A critical and commercial triumph for ITV, the series has already been sold to the US, and eight more episodes have been commissioned for a second series, with filming due to start in March 2011.

Downton 's makers, Carnival Films – owned by the US media giant NBC Universal – are poised to make millions by selling the format overseas, having footed 25% of the cost of producing the series, with ITV paying the remainder. That is unusual: most commissions are paid for solely by the channel which first screens it, but NBC has deeper pockets than most. But as the ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier, hinted this week, Downton Abbey  also signals a new direction for ITV, away from "lowest common denominator" shows such as X Factor  towards more arts programming and quality drama. The series has been love-it-or-hate-it viewing at its best. But the Downton Abbey  sideshow has been almost as entertaining – and as quintessentially middle England.

Even those who profess to hate it seem to know every plot detail. One critic bleated to me last week: "Two years are supposed to have passed since episode one, and yet nothing has changed. It makes no sense."

Some have complained that there are too many advertising breaks, that the language is inaccurate ("They shouldn't use the word 'boyfriend' until 1933"), and that the subplots are ludicrous. There are even concerns that the family is not posh enough: they would never speak informally to the staff. Others think there are not enough staff for a house of that size. No matter. Almost everyone is watching.

The screenwriter, Julian Fellowes, has been forced to mount a defence against plagiarism, replying in an injured tone amusingly reminiscent of the dowager countess herself ("I am not conscious of lifting"). Online, eagle-eyed viewers have railed about television aerials being in shot, fleeting glimpses of double yellow lines and the presence of an anachronistic conservatory. In the Spectator,  a reader with knowledge of Turkish history points out "gently" that even Mr Pamuk, the visiting dignitary whose midnight dalliance with Lady Mary caused him to expire from excitement ("Poor Kemal!"), is wrongly labelled. ("He would be addressed as Kemal Bey.") The Downton Abbey  media machine has responded crossly that there are no yellow lines in the village of Bampton where the series is shot, and that the conservatory in question dates back to the Edwardian era. (They put their hands up about the TV aerial, which is visible for a millisecond.)

Fellowes bemoaned the "permanent negative nit-picking from the left". (Surely he meant the right?) "There are plenty of shows on television I don't like. But I don't go on about them." He added that his critics were "insecure socially". But all this carping misses the point. Simultaneously escapist and relevant, Downton Abbey  has captured the spirit of our own times: it portrays, in microcosm, a society on the brink of disaster. The national debate about its historical accuracy is a measure not of its failure but of its success. It is a sumptuous, accomplished piece of television which can be enjoyed on many levels.

This is because unlike so many other costume dramas, it is not based on a previously existing work of fiction. It is by a contemporary writer (Fellowes) for a contemporary audience. In real life, the dowager countess would have surely cut her granddaughter dead for her loss of virtue. And would the pantaloon-clad Lady Sybil be allowed near any feminist rallies? Probably not. But these things could have happened, they might have happened. And this is not a documentary. It's British drama at its finest. Long may the Crawleys reign.

• This article was amended on 8 November 2010. The original referred to the dowager duchess. This has been corrected.
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 03:41:10 pm »



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2010/dec/29/period-drama-television?INTCMP=SRCH




Downton Abbey v
Upstairs Downstairs
– who won?

Downton Abbey, of course. What it did in a deliciously
melodramatic thespian whisper, Upstairs Downstairs did
with a cartoon sledgehammer


by Viv Groskop
29 December 2010 14.16 GMT

guardian.co.uk


Neil Jackson as chauffeur Harry Spargo in Upstairs Downstairs.


Champagne corks must have been popping in Julian Fellowes' house last night. After months of speculation and anticipation, finally it's official: Upstairs Downstairs  is nowhere near as good as Fellowes' baby, Downton Abbey.

Poor Upstairs Downstairs.  If only they had aired it six months ago, everyone would be saying how wonderful it is. Instead it has had to endure the curse of comparison. And next to Fellowes' glittering showpiece (with an audience of 10.8 million and one of the top 10 ratings winners of 2010), the BBC's revival of its 1970s classic looked as limp as the shammy leather wielded by Spargo, the spurned fascist chauffeur.

Here's the problem. Downton Abbey  completely changed the way we watch period drama. Fellowes brought all the tight, witty scripting of a Hollywood adaptation to an original story, topped off with a gigantic, knowingly camp wink that delighted jaded viewers.

As for Upstairs Downstairs,  not even mesmerising performances from Keeley Hawes as Lady Agnes and Dame Eileen Atkins as Lady Holland could save the day. What was the BBC thinking of, cramming enough material for several series into three hours?

Last night in the space of five minutes a baby was born (delivered by the butler in the bathroom), one sister ran away to join the Nazis and another sister, presumed dead, was discovered to have been living in a psychiatric clinic for the past 20 years. Oh yes, and the king abdicated.

Now, Downton Abbey  was hardly subtle. (Two words: Mister Pamuk.) But what it did in a deliciously melodramatic thespian whisper, Upstairs Downstairs  did with a cartoon sledgehammer borrowed from amateur dramatics.

In the first episode of Downton Abbey,  for example, there was a fleeting glimpse of the newspapers being pressed by one of the footmen. In Upstairs Downstairs  the housekeeper came clomping down the stairs shouting lingeringly: "Oh. The newspapers are LATE. There will be no time to IRON them." You expected her to add: "This we must do because it is the OLDEN DAYS." I had flashbacks of French and Saunders' House of Idiot.

Upstairs Downstairs  had sparks of Downton -esque genius. The confiscated Cecil Beaton photograph and the psychedelic pistachio bavarois. The pet monkey caressing Lady Agnes' cherry with his eyes at the breakfast table and rejecting the marmalade because he prefers thin-cut. And Dame Eileen Atkins' understatedly brilliant one-liners: "Bureaucrats relish an entertaining female." "Wallis Simpson is not chic. She is relentlessly well-dressed."

The off-the-record murmur from the BBC? This was a pilot for a new series which could go head-to-head with Fellowes' ratings giant. So could Upstairs Downstairs  work if the BBC gave it more room to breathe? Or should they cut their losses and face the truth – that this time ITV has beaten them at their own game? As ever, I'm with Mr Pamuk. (Forever in Downton Abbey  heaven.)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 08:11:21 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 03:56:25 pm »






http://www.slate.com/id/2280262/


Terms of Entailment
Elizabeth McGovern is delightful in the upstairs-downstairs drama Downton Abbey.

By June Thomas
Updated Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at 11:00 AM ET





The best way to determine the quality of a show in the PBS "Masterpiece Classics" series is to measure the skirts. If they're too short, it means we're in England's grim midcentury period, and I prefer my classics to be set long before the reign of the current queen. I'm pleased to report that the frocks of Downton Abbey  reach all the way to the ground, just as they should. Indeed, all the period costumer's occult arts are on display: corsetry, millinery, the starching of detachable collars. The show, which was a hit in Britain, is set in the world of immaculately turned-out servants who rise at dawn to light their masters' fires, iron their newspapers, and prepare their meals, while their own breakfasts are constantly interrupted by summoning bells from upstairs.

In the first episode, the papers bring devastating news—the sinking of the Titanic means that Lord Grantham (a likable Hugh Bonneville) has lost his heir and the spare. What's worse, one of the men was unofficially engaged to Mary (Michelle Dockery), the eldest of the earl's three daughters. Since the family estate is entailed and can pass in its entirety only to a male heir, the marriage would've solved Mary's problems. But her prospects went down with the great ship. Unless the entail can be smashed, all the land and property and her American mother's fortune will be passed to a third cousin once removed, a lawyer from Manchester.

Lord Grantham is a good egg. This is obvious from his very first piece of dialogue, when he evinces sympathy for the less fortunate and displays a sensitivity of feeling that in our own day can only be developed by spending many hours on a yoga mat. As a native Mancunian, I can tell you that it's his lordship's pronunciation of Manchester that best establishes him as a decent sort. Never has a TV toff uttered the name of that gritty Northern English city with so little contempt.

The entail is to Downton Abbey  what the taxation of trade routes was to The Phantom Menace:  a big, mostly boring Maguffin. It's a source of stress for Lord Grantham, who knows that the only way to save his loved ones from being usurped by a stranger is to undo the legal knot his father so carefully tied. The injustice of the entail also makes temporary allies of his wife, Cora, played with the perfect blend of good-natured patience and resigned disappointment by Elizabeth McGovern, and his mother, the crabby dowager countess—a scene-stealing, sour-faced Maggie Smith, who seems to have prepared for the role by lining her knickers with sandpaper.

Downton Abbey  manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh. If you've seen Gosford Park  (which earned Downton Abbey  creator Julian Fellowes an Oscar for best original screenplay), The Remains of the Day,  or a single episode of Upstairs, Downstairs —basically, if you know what a butler is—you'll feel right at home. The stiff upper lips, the stirrup cups, and the weekend house parties are all there, but in the middle of it all, you can see opportunities opening up, and modern Britain beginning to emerge. The servants are still grateful to have avoided the factory or the fields, but they're entertaining other options. The daughters of the landed gentry are still willing to put themselves on the block of the marriage market, but an adequate income isn't all they demand of a potential husband (and membership in a good family isn't enough for their suitors).

Change is coming, but it hasn't arrived yet, and there's no rushing history, especially below stairs. Housemaid Gwen (Rose Leslie) has ideas about leaving service, and her slow, nervous exploration of that path suggests she might find a way out. But Thomas (William Mason), the first footman, is burning with ambition, and nothing good can come of it. Thomas has his heart set on becoming Lord Grantham's valet, but the job goes instead to a mysterious stranger, leaving Thomas resentful and scheming.

Ambition, and the disruption it could unleash, is incompatible with happiness in the Downton Abbey  universe. Exquisite politeness and proper protocol may seem like stuffy signifiers of the status quo, but they exist to make people feel comfortable. When the new heir, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), is summoned to the estate, he balks at its rules because he doesn't understand their purpose. He refuses to allow the butler to serve him, believing that fastening his own cufflinks or pouring his own tea is a sign of self-sufficiency. In fact, it is an act of selfishness that makes the butler doubt the worthiness of his profession. Knowing one's place is like knowing one's shoe size—life is infinitely more pleasant when you get it right.

Still, transformation makes for fabulous television, and although the changes to the lives of these country folk are gradual, the show itself is zippy, moving from dining room to drawing room to bedroom at a good clip. It will satisfy the commoner in all of us, and for the toffs, Downton Abbey  is as bracing as a good day's hunting.
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 04:26:55 pm »





 


   


   


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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011, 06:27:56 pm »

I somehow managed to miss any knowledge of this series!  Let's face it, I don't keep up with TV.  How many episodes have I missed?  Are they available online?  Tongue
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 12:26:15 am »

I watched "Downton Abbey" tonight, and I'm happy to say, after reading the above articles, that it seems I haven't missed any episodes.  This was the first.  Hurrah!

This is great stuff, just as Gosford Park was, and I'm excited to read that a second season of episodes is in the works.  Yay!  Cool
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 02:47:43 am »

I watched "Downton Abbey" tonight, and I'm happy to say, after reading the above articles, that it seems I haven't missed any episodes.  This was the first.  Hurrah!

This is great stuff, just as Gosford Park was, and I'm excited to read that a second season of episodes is in the works.  Yay!  Cool

Yes!! David and I caught the first episode tonight on PBS. We're in!!

I'm a bit of an Anglophile. And David's grandparents, uncles, and aunts were Scottish/Welsh servant class. So we're looking forward to more of this.
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 07:58:54 pm »

I saw a preview and it looked awesome, but missed it when the first episode aired Sunday.  Sad
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 09:21:22 pm »



Episode 1 (1:23:04) can be found here:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1724131531/#


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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2011, 03:50:39 pm »

I loved Gosford Park, by one of my favorite directors Robert Altman, so I'm jazzed about seeing this too.
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2011, 04:16:05 pm »


I missed the first episode... but I would very much like to see the others.  There must be a way to find the first episode and watch it online or something.

It looks fun.  I love Maggie Smith.

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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2011, 06:32:23 pm »

I missed the first episode... but I would very much like to see the others.  There must be a way to find the first episode and watch it online or something.

It looks fun.  I love Maggie Smith.

John G. posted a link:


Episode 1 (1:23:04) can be found here:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1724131531/#


I really enjoyed it.  Maggie Smith rocks.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2011, 08:17:04 pm »

Maggie Smith rocks.

You can say that twice and mean it!  Cool
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2011, 07:50:22 pm »



http://austenprose.com/2011/01/17/downton-abbey-episode-two-on-masterpiece-classic-pbs-%E2%80%93-a-recap-review/



Downton Abbey:
Episode Two on Masterpiece Classic PBS –
A Recap & Review


by Laurel Ann (Austenprose)
17 January 2011





Downton Abbey continued last night on Masterpiece Classic with episode two. After a great opening on PBS last Sunday to a record 7.6 million US viewers, this four-part Edwardian drama continues to charm and amaze me. The blending of the upstairs and downstairs lives of the residents of this stately manor house is compelling drama, with moments of total surprise and shock from both quarters. This new co-production by Masterpiece PBS and Carnival ITV was a huge hit when it aired in the UK last year. The second season has just been announced and UK viewers will be dished up eight new episodes next Fall and a Christmas special in December. Great news for North American viewers also since the second season will most likely air shortly after in January 2012.




The second act of a play or opera is always my favorite. We have been introduced to the characters (the aristocratic Crawley family of Downton Abbey) the conflicts have been set up (death of the immediate male heirs) and the hook dropped (the entail must be broken) for us to take the bait. Now we can get to know the personalities at play and watch the drama unfold. In addition, several themes are developing, but two dominant ones in episode two were discovering or honoring our place in life, and harboring secrets and their consequences. Here is a synopsis from Masterpiece.




As Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Isobel (Penelope Wilton), the newly-arrived Crawleys settle into life in the village, Isobel offers her experience with modern medical techniques at the hospital to Doctor Clarkson (David Robb), to the considerable consternation of Violet, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Both Matthew and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) bristle at the prospect of being matched to one another; still, Matthew indulges Mary’s clever barbs even as a suitor in the form of The Hon. Evelyn Napier (Brandan Patricks), the wealthy son and heir to Viscount Branksome is invited for a foxhunt, accompanied by the handsome attaché at the Turkish Embassy, Kemal Pamuk (Theo James).




Downstairs, secrets reflect the ambitions, shames and desperate hopes of the servants, as housemaid Gwen (Rose Leslie) tries to hide the contents of a heavy box set atop the wardrobe in her room; the butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) abandons his customary dignity as he skittishly raids the pantry; and Lord Grantham’s valet Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) refuses to share the source of his debilitating pain to his co-workers. Their concern and camaraderie markedly contrast the festering discontent of the footman Thomas (Rob James-Collier) and Miss O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran), Lady Grantham’s (Elizabeth McGovern) personal maid.




A sinister stranger Charles Grigg (Nicky Henson) barges into the house, demanding to speak to Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), and an attractive stranger captivates Mary before setting into motion a chain of events that put the fate of Downton Abbey on even less stable ground.




Many plots churning; some resolved; others only leave us craving more of this multi-layered, well-acted, beautifully produced period drama. I always enjoy the surprise element and dutifully promise not to reveal any major spoilers, but the reaction by Lord Grantham when Mr. Carson’s secret from the past arrives and plants himself in his library is classic, the Dowager Countess continues to steal every scene with all her sarcastic lines, and Lady Mary’s push of propriety is an eye popper.




The Victorian costumes and English locations arrive regularly in jaw dropping splendor. The scenes of the foxhunt were especially picturesque, evoking a time when everything had its place in order of social dictum. Victorian-era fox hunting as a sport is as complicated socially as any Regency-era Ball at Almacks. People, horses, hounds, foxes, you name it. Everyone, and everything had its place. A perfect example for writer Julian Fellowes to use to display the pomp of the aristocratic lifestyle that the upstairs residents of Downton maintain, and the downstairs servants must cater to.




My favorite scene of episode two was during the family dinner at Downton with the Crawleys, Matthew and Isobel. As Violet, the Dowager Countess takes pot shots at Mrs. Crawley for volunteering in “her” hospital and disagreeing with the doctors treatment of a sick laborer, Lady Mary, the chip off her grandmother’s ole shoulder, taunts Matthew about his middle-class kind not riding or hunting, “unusual among our kind of people.” Ouch. If you watch closely the reaction by the people who are observing the discussion, Ladies Edith and Sybil, you can see the tension mounting in their keen interest and surprise, and, the temperature of the room rise by the withering looks like poison darts of disapproval issued by Lady Grantham to the Dowager and her daughter Mary. Ha! Not one to take a hint from her lowly American mother, Lady Mary continues to taunt Matthew’s usurper position as heir by telling him the story of Andromeda, with sacrificial maidens, sea serpents and heroic young Gods to the rescue. Matthew gets the point exactly and offers a retort worthy of any Jane Austen hero. Bravo!




Episode three of Downton Abbey continues next Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm ET (check your local listings)

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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2011, 03:33:48 pm »

I only came across this thread today, so let me add that I've been watching it since it started two weeks ago and am enjoying it thoroughly. John Doyle, the TV critic for the Toronto Globe and Mail described it as "instantly addictive" and I now see what he means.

Beyond the overall drama, I'm also enjoying the attention given to period detail - like the kedgeree (a rice and fish dish) which was one of the dishes sent upstairs for the breakfast buffet. I emailed my nephew in Vancouver to see if he'd spotted it as he's served kedgeree over Christmas but for a small family supper not for breakfast. He had.

And Maggie Smith, bless her, is in absolutely tip-top form. Roll on next Sunday's episode!
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2011, 02:03:46 am »

And Maggie Smith, bless her, is in absolutely tip-top form. Roll on next Sunday's episode!

She's worth the price of admission, as they say.  Superb!  Cool
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2011, 11:43:22 pm »




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1345453/Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-accused-Countess-Carnarvon-painfully-rude-bid-buy-real-life-Downton-Abbey.html

Countess accuses
Andrew Lloyd Webber
of 'painfully rude' bid to buy
their real-life Downton Abbey

By Mail On Sunday Reporter
Last updated at 12:33 AM on 9th January 2011




Andrew Lloyd Webber angered the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon after
he made an unsolicited offer to buy their property Highclere Castle, which
was used for ITV show Downtown Abbey




Oscar-winning composer Lloyd Webber
made it known that he wanted to buy
the 300-room pile so he could house his
priceless paintings there



           
George Herbert, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon, and his wife Fiona were angered
by the offer. The countess described the composer's approach as 'painfully rude'



The aristocratic owners of Highclere Castle, the stately home used as the setting for Downton Abbey, were outraged by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘painfully rude’ attempts to ‘buy’ them out of their home.

The fury felt by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon is laid bare in previously private letters and emails obtained by this newspaper under freedom of information laws.

The Oscar-winning composer of Evita, Phantom Of The Opera  and Cats  made it known last July that he wanted to buy the 300-room pile near Newbury, Berkshire, so he could house his priceless paintings there.

His unsolicited offer angered George Herbert, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon, and his wife Fiona.

The couple revealed their displeasure in an email to consultants who were advising them on a future planning application.

On July 19, 2010, the Countess wrote: ‘In terms of feedback, it was hugely heartening to hear comments from people in the street . . .

‘The consensus did appear to be a sense of surprise and outrage that a rich man would think it acceptable to come along, get his cheque book out and take over a piece of history [to house his paintings].

‘Although the story seems outrageous enough almost to be amusing, it was also painfully rude that he should feel able to dismiss our dedication and determination to sustain the house for future generations, offering to buy us out.’

Lloyd Webber, who lives on the nearby Sydmonton estate, declared an interest in buying the house when the Earl and Countess revealed they were interested in applying for a special kind of planning permission, known as a development enabler.

This would effectively overturn an existing ban on developing land close to Highclere Castle.

The couple claimed that development was the only way they could generate funds to pay for repairs to the castle.

Lloyd Webber then wrote to the local authority saying he would like to buy the castle.

The Carnarvons have been paid an unspecified sum by ITV for the castle’s use in Downton Abbey. The show’s ratings success has also brought a boost in visitor numbers.

But contrary to reports, the money from Downton Abbey will not pay for the repairs.

The Countess of Carnarvon last night confirmed she and her husband had written the email.

A spokesman for Lloyd Webber declined to comment.
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 12:06:23 am »


http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/news/highclere-castle


19th October 2010
Highclere Castle



Following a report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph regarding Highclere Castle, the setting of ITV1’s Downton Abbey, Andrew wrote the following letter to The Daily Telegraph, an edited version of which appears in today’s paper.

Dear Sir,

May I express my joy and relief that the success of the ITV series “Downton Abbey” leads the Earl of Carnarvon to announce that its “star”, Sir Charles Barry’s wonderful Highclere Castle is saved.

I, along with the Highclere Society and the North Wessex Downs Preservation Society, have been very concerned that the Earl had proposed to develop housing in swathes of the north Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB), relying on special English Heritage planning guidelines to raise money to restore the castle. Under these guidelines, this sort of development is only permitted if every other avenue is exhausted or if the sale of the building to be restored to a sympathetic buyer cannot be achieved.

The action groups drew my attention to the potential damage to the ANOB. This, combined with my love of architecture, was behind my interest (mentioned in today’s article) in exploring whether the castle, which is not lived in, could possibly become a publicly accessed long term home for my art collection. Today we read that the TV series will generate enough income to save the castle and presumably the proposed development need not take place. This is truly a fantastic outcome for all.

As Bertie Wooster, a previous TV resident of Highclere Castle would say, “Top hole! Jeeves.”

Yours faithfully,

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER



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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2011, 01:58:36 am »

I was surprised in the latest episode to hear the saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Wow! Shades of The Shining!!
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2011, 07:25:14 pm »




I was surprised in the latest episode to hear the saying "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Wow! Shades of The Shining!!




I knew it was old, but didn't know how old, Lee!




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_work_and_no_play_makes_Jack_a_dull_boy


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring.


History

Though the spirit of the proverb has been expressed previously, the modern saying appeared first in James Howell's Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish  (1659), and was included in later collections of proverbs. It also appears in Howell's Paroimiographia  (1659), p. 12.

Some writers have added a second part to the proverb, as in Harry and Lucy Concluded  (1825) by the Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth:

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy ”




Uses in popular media

While the proverb is used in several examples of popular media (from James Joyce's short story, "Araby," to Jack Kerouac's Big Sur,  to the 1957 movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai ), probably the most famous example appears in the 1980 movie The Shining,  when a main character's descent into insanity is marked by the production of hundreds of sheets of paper covered with the typewritten sentence "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy."

The proverb's psychotic use in The Shining  had some effect on popular culture, inspiring several other works to include a direct homage to the scene: for example, a 1994 episode of The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror V" contained a parody of the phrase, when Marge finds No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy written all over the walls, also mentioned in a episode in Family Guy "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" when Stewie was riding his tri-bike at Lois's big inherited house and met the twins from The Shining  at a corridor and they said "Come play with us Stewie for ever, and ever and ever" and Stewie replied back to them "All work and no play makes Stewie a dull boy"; and a 2002 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer  -- "Gone" -- includes a scene where Buffy Summers fills a social worker's report with pages consisting entirely of repetitions of "All work and no play make Doris a dull girl."

Also, the Christian band Casting Crowns used the proverb in the song "American Dream".

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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2011, 07:56:50 pm »

Don't forget Malcolm McLaren!  "Boy's Chorus" from Puccini's Turandot



"All work, no joy, makes Mac, a dull boy."
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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2011, 01:30:20 am »



http://austenprose.com/2011/01/25/downton-abbey-episode-three-on-masterpiece-classic-pbs-%e2%80%93-a-recap-review/



Downton Abbey:
Episode Three on Masterpiece Classic PBS –
A Recap & Review


by Laurel Ann (Austenprose)
25 January 2011






Episode three of Downton Abbey aired on Masterpiece Classic on Sunday. The “engine of social change is roaring through society,” its ripples even reaching traditional life at Downton. As the family upstairs and their servants downstairs face change, they are forced to make choices. Some like Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and the Dowager Duchess (COUNTESS!!!) (Maggie Smith) hold on to the past, hoping that the entail can be broken and others like the parlor maid Gwen (Rose Leslie) and Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) attempt to forge their own future out of the norm. Here is a brief synopsis from Masterpiece.






The fair has come to town, and with it comes romantic hopes for several Downton Abbey inhabitants. In a triumph of the absurd, Violet, the Dowager Duchess (sic!  COUNTESS!) asks a baffled Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) to use his legal acumen to dissolve the entail — the very document by which he is to inherit Downton Abbey. Matthew’s findings and his hopes for Downton cement his growing closeness with Robert, the Earl (Earl, YES, correct!) of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and a new warmth suffuses his encounters with Lady Mary.






But Mary’s thaw doesn’t extend to her sister Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) , as their competition becomes crueler. Cora, the Duchess (sic!!  COUNTESS, thank you very MUCH!) of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) simply wants Mary married, but newly circulating rumors may hinder that aspiration. Meanwhile, Violet’s power struggle with Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) moves from the hospital grounds to the annual flower show as Isobel casts her democratizing gaze upon Violet’s prize-winning roses.






A kind gesture by valet Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) is not lost on housemaid Anna (Joanne Froggatt); but he cryptically professes to not being capable of more. Lady Sybil discovers the politics of gender and class, with the help of the socialist chauffeur, Branson (Allen Leech), and butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) discovers that several valuable bottles of wine have gone missing. The vulnerable kitchen maid Daisy (Sophie McShera), under increased pressure and ire from a fretful Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), possesses a dangerous secret that she learned upstairs.





This episode was all about social changes with many characters pushing and pulling at their station, or each other. One would think that of all the social classes in the Edwardian-era, that aristocrats know their place and what is destined for their lives. The working class can move up if they can, but a family born into a peerage has pretty much made it. This may apply to the men folk, but certainly not for the ladies unless they marry up. I was moved by Lady Mary’s plight. She has come to the grim realization that she is powerless. A pariah. Her conversation with her cousin Matthew says it all. “Women like me don’t have a life. We choose clothes and pay calls and work for charity and do the season, but really we’re stuck in a waiting room until we marry.”






Lady Mary knows that her mother and grandmother’s efforts to smash the entail are futile. Her father, Lord Grantham, has accepted the inevitable. She will not inherit nor be an heiress. She is frustrated and angry. Cousin Matthew has been accepted as the heir and is now the son that her father never had. “Matthew, Matthew, Matthew.”  (Shades of Jan Brady in the 1970’s sitcom The Brady Bunch,  whining “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” ) Her mother isn’t much help either. She thinks her daughter is a lost soul, and she is right. Mary took a lover with no thought of marriage. She is a ruined woman if it is made public.






Ironically, I was reminded of a great quote from Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice  by Mary Bennet. Set one hundred years prior to events in Downton Abbey, not much has changed in regard to woman’s worth and reputations.


“This is a most unfortunate affair; and will probably be much talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation.” Then, perceiving in Elizabeth no inclination of replying, she added, “Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable — that one false step involves her in endless ruin — that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful — and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.” Chapter 47


Reputations are still brittle, as Lady Mary well knows and her sister Lady Edith even more so. She will use Mary indiscretion against her for revenge. There is nothing more painful than sibling-icide. It’s as old as Cain and Able, and just as ugly.







On a happier note, love is in the air. I had to applaud housemaid Anna for not being a lady and just saying so to the man she loves. What a plucky Miss she is. It is easy to be generous when you have nothing to lose! Kudos also to Lady Sybil. I feel a romance brewing between our spirited rebel and the socialist chauffeur Branson! Just thinking out loud mind you, but they make a handsome couple, even though socially, their romance would not be accepted. Hmmm? Interesting plot possibility.







I will end on a great quote from the butler Mr. Carson. “What would be the point of living if we did not let life change us?”  I couldn’t agree more.

The conclusion of season one of Downton Abbey airs next Sunday, January 30th with episode four.  Will it be a cliffhanger?





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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2011, 03:16:45 am »

I haven't been watching it, but Eric (Chowhound) has been telling me about it and it sounds wonderful. And I just noticed Barnes & Noble is advertising the series for sale both on DVD and Blu-Ray. It's not very expensive either! Cool


http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=DVD&WRD=downton+abbey&page=&prod=univ&choice=video&query=Downton+Abbey&flag=False&ATL_lid=vU5msPIL7r&ATL_userid=vU5msPIL7r&ATL_customerid=bH5yyhFN1gmXJga3&ATL_sid=ew6ZXWeN0d&ATL_seqnum=2&ugrp=1

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« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2011, 07:04:54 pm »




Parody!!
Grin Grin Grin


« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 10:48:57 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek » Logged

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There's no reins on this one....




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« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2011, 09:02:51 pm »

And what a parody!  I didn't expect all those name actors.  Very funny!  laugh
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« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2011, 10:45:44 pm »



Now--not  parody, but the real thing,
second season:



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« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2011, 11:04:33 pm »








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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2011, 08:30:46 am »

Does this have a theme song sung by Petula Clark?  Cool
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« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2011, 09:05:42 am »





Does this have a theme song sung by Petula Clark?  Cool



I always liked her!   Cheesy





PC 1965



PC 2010





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petula_Clark


"Downtown" era
 
Neither Clark, who was performing in Canada when the song first received major air-play, nor Hatch realized the impact the song would have on their respective careers. Released in four different languages in late 1964, "Downtown" was a success in the UK, France (in both the English and the French versions), the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Italy, and also Rhodesia, Japan, and India. During a visit to London, Warner Bros. executive Joe Smith heard it and acquired the rights for the United States. "Downtown" went to #1 on the American charts in January 1965, and three million copies were sold in America. It was the first of fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits Clark achieved in the United States, including "I Know a Place", "My Love", "A Sign of the Times", "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love", "This Is My Song" (from the Charles Chaplin film A Countess from Hong Kong), and "Don't Sleep in the Subway". The American recording industry honored her with Grammy Awards for "Best Rock & Roll Record" for "Downtown" in 1964 and for "Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance" for "I Know a Place" in 1965. In 2003, her recording of "Downtown" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Clark's recording successes led to frequent appearances on American variety programs hosted by Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin, guest shots on Hullabaloo, Shindig!, The Kraft Music Hall, and The Hollywood Palace, and inclusion in musical specials such as The Best on Record and Rodgers and Hart Today.




Ad for the NBC-TV special that sparked controversy even before it aired

 

In 1968, NBC-TV invited Clark to host her own special in the U.S., and in doing so she inadvertently made television history. While singing a duet of "On the Path of Glory," an anti-war song that she had composed, with guest Harry Belafonte, she took hold of his arm, to the dismay of a representative from the Chrysler Corporation, the show's sponsor, who feared that the moment would incur the racist bigotry of Southern viewers. When he insisted that they substitute a different take, with Clark and Belafonte standing well away from one another, Clark and the executive producer of the show — her husband, Wolff — refused, destroyed all other takes of the song and delivered the finished program to NBC with the touch intact. The program aired on 8 April 1968, with high ratings and critical acclaim. (To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original telecast, Clark and Wolff appeared at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan on 22 September 2008, to discuss the broadcast and its impact, following a broadcast of the program.)

Clark later was the hostess of two more specials, another one for NBC and one for ABC - one which served as a pilot for a projected weekly series. Clark declined the offer in order to please her children, who disliked living in Los Angeles.
 
Clark revived her movie career in the late 1960s, starring in two big musical films. In Finian's Rainbow (1968), she starred opposite Fred Astaire and she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance. With her role, she again made history by becoming Astaire's final on-screen dance partner. The following year she was cast with Peter O'Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, a musical adaptation of the classic James Hilton novella. (Her last film to date has been the British production Never Never Land, released in 1980.) After that, her output of musical hits in the States diminished markedly, although she continued to record and make television appearances into the 1970s. By the mid-1970s, Clark scaled back her career in order to devote more time to her family. On December 31, 1976, she performed her hit song Downtown on BBC1's A Jubilee Of Music, celebrating British pop music for Queen Elizabeth II's impending Silver Jubilee.
 
Herb Alpert and his A&M record label benefitted from Clark's interest in encouraging new talent. In 1968, she brought French composer/arranger Michel Colombier to the States to work as her musical director and introduced him to Alpert. (He went on to co-write Purple Rain with Prince, composed the acclaimed pop symphony Wings and a number of soundtracks for American films.) Richard Carpenter credited her with bringing him and his sister Karen to Alpert's attention when they performed at a premiere party for Clark's film Goodbye, Mr. Chips.




 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2011, 10:38:11 am »

I always liked her!   Cheesy

I did, too. We had a "45" (remember them?  Grin ) of "Downtown." It might still be lying around somewhere.  laugh

I never realized she had quite the impact that she clearly did.

Quote
Clark's recording successes led to frequent appearances on American variety programs hosted by Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin, guest shots on Hullabaloo, Shindig!, The Kraft Music Hall, and The Hollywood Palace.

I remember all those old shows, too!

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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2011, 02:42:41 pm »


Now--not  parody, but the real thing,
second season:

Thanks, Aloysius, for posting these previews.

Does anybody know when PBS in the States -and by extension in Canada, where I am - plans to start showing the second series? I'm much looking forward to it though from the previews it looks as though the mood and tone will be much changed by the outbreak of the First World War.
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2011, 03:28:26 pm »

I was reading about Downton Abbey in the Australian online papers when I was travelling in Europe in May and June. I hoped I would see it when I returned to NZ in July only to find it was on in NZ before Australia. I thought I would have to buy a DVD. However they are replaying the first series before they show the 2nd series so I have now watched 2 programs. I was disappointed in the first program mainly because the homosexual scene was between 2 unsavoury characters. I enjoyed part 2 last Saturday night.
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« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2011, 01:40:00 pm »

My sister in England asked me not to phone her between 9.00 and 10.30pm this last Sunday as the first installment of the second series of Downton Abbey would be showing. I phoned at 10.40 to get her initial reactions. These were very positive though she didn't want to tell me much as she knew I would be seeing it over here at some point.

So does anybody know when we in Canada and the States will get to see it? Personally, I can't wait.
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« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2011, 01:59:20 pm »

My sister in England asked me not to phone her between 9.00 and 10.30pm this last Sunday as the first installment of the second series of Downton Abbey would be showing. I phoned at 10.40 to get her initial reactions. These were very positive though she didn't want to tell me much as she knew I would be seeing it over here at some point.

So does anybody know when we in Canada and the States will get to see it? Personally, I can't wait.

I think one of the above articles suggested it would be released here some time after the first of the year.

The previews look great!

I've been re-watching the first season on Netflix:  just as good the second time around. 
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« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2011, 12:56:46 pm »


http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2011/10/13/downton_abbey_season_2_is_streaming_illegally_shouldn_t_pbs_just.html



Downton Abbey  Season 2:
Shouldn’t PBS Just Air It, Already?

By Cindy Y. Hong
Posted Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, at 11:59 AM ET



Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey.
 

The second season of Downton Abbey  premiered on September 18, 2011 in the U.K. But U.S. fans still need to wait until January 8 of next year to find out how the aristocratic Crawley family weathers modernity, entails, and World War I. Of course, impatient American viewers may seek unauthorized online sources in the meantime. Given that illegal streaming and downloading have become so common, why is PBS waiting almost four months to release the second season of Downton Abbey?
 
PBS says it comes down to the logistics of editing episodes and fitting Downton Abbey  in with a busy fall season. “Programs are made for U.K. broadcast lengths, which require re-editing to fit our PBS time slot,” PBS’ Masterpiece producer Rebecca Eaton stated in an email, “And, since our Masterpiece schedule showcases our Classic programming in the winter, we’re beginning Downton Abbey  season 2 in January 2012.”
 
PBS’s decision will disappoint American fans of British television who had hoped that BBC America’s Doctor Who  would usher in a new era of same-day broadcasting of U.K. shows. Earlier this year, the entire final season of Doctor Who  aired on the same day worldwide in an attempt to bring fans together. “We listened to our fans who wanted to be part of a global conversation,” said Richard DeCroce, Senior Vice President of Programming at BBC America. Same-day airings limited spoilers while also staving off potential revenue loss from illegal viewing of the show.

PBS, however, may have less reason to be concerned with erosion from online streaming and downloading than BBC America did. Derek Kompare, a film and media arts professor at Southern Methodist University, believes that it’s valuable for networks to consider demographics on a show-by-show basis. For instance, delaying broadcast could build anticipation among older viewers who are less likely to use online streaming. Though a PBS spokesperson acknowledged via email that “resourceful fans will try to find a way to watch season two before the … PBS broadcast,” they also believe that many fans will tune in come January. “Also, we know that true Downton addicts will watch the series more than once.”
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« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2011, 03:43:45 pm »

I have been watching the reruns of Downton Abbey series 1 on Saturday night and, after not likeing episode 1, enjoying the rest. It finishes this Saturday. Just checked when series 2 is starting and am most upset to find it is next Tuesday. I am flying to Australia on Tuesday for a school reunion that night returning on Thursday. Will have to research how to find it on the net.
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« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2011, 08:19:21 pm »



     I purchased the first CD from them when they put it up for sale.  I did not
know however, that there is to be an episode 2.
     Does it have the same cast?
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« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2011, 11:24:26 pm »


     I purchased the first CD from them when they put it up for sale.  I did not
know however, that there is to be an episode 2.
     Does it have the same cast?
I have read there are to be 3 series. The promos for series 2 shows many of the same characters as in Series 1. It is set during WW1
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« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2011, 02:43:09 pm »

I managed to set up my VHS recorder back in October (had not set it up since I moved from Australia to NZ in January 2010 (I do not watch much TV) and recorded the first episode of 2nd series. The series finished last night in NZ (has not started yet in Australia and I gather in US). Now I cannot wait for series 3  Sad. Much was left up in the air.
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« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2012, 02:14:49 am »

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/01/the-real-downton-abbey-juiciest-bits-from-the-lost-legacy-of-highclere-castle.html


The Real Downton Abbey:
Juiciest Bits From
'The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle'

Séances, Rothschild love children, the Curse of Tutankhamen.
Tom Sykes on the shocking real-life history of Highclere Castle,
the setting for the smash-hit British TV drama.


Jan 1, 2012 4:45 AM EST



Lady Carnarvon on the grounds of Highclere Castle.


Highclere House is one of the great British stately homes, familiar to the wider Anglophile world as the location for the British TV drama Downton Abbey.

Now its current chatelaine, Lady Fiona, the Countess of Carnarvon, has penned an account of Almina Carnarvon, the enormously wealthy heiress and illegitimate daughter of Alfred de Rothschild, who, in 1895, married the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, the explorer who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen.

Despite the fact that Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle  contains no references to Downton Abbey beyond its sales-friendly title, it is a fascinating insight into how the seriously rich once lived.
 


Almina was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild

Despite a lack of DNA evidence, the author concludes that Almina Victoria Marie Alexandra Wombwell, “a startlingly pretty 19-year-old” when she married Carnarvon, was the illegitimate daughter of banking giant Alfred de Rothschild. Her mother, Marie Wombwell, was the widow of the “heavy drinker and reckless gambler” Frederick Wombwell. Rothschild was usually described at the time as Almina’s godfather.
 


Carnarvon married Almina for her Rothschild millions
 
Although George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, owned thousands of acres and houses in London, Hampshire, Somerset, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire filled with Old Masters, he was a little strapped for cash. Rothschild had let it be known that whoever married his “goddaughter” would receive a very generous dowry—and Carnarvon rose to the challenge. He signed a legal agreement with Rothschild stipulating that he would pay £12,000 yearly to Lady Carnarvon, or Lord Carnarvon if she died before him, throughout his life. “A Highclere footman was paid £22 a year at that time, so the multiplier would put the value of this annual income at £6.5 million (about $10.1 million) in today’s terms.”



Canvas chutes were used as fire escapes

In the real Downton Abbey, female servants slept on high floors in the eves of the castle, not in the basement. “Provisions for escape in event of a fire were pretty terrifying. Outside the bedrooms there are painted notices that announce, matter of factly, 'In case of fire, use chute.’ The heavy canvas tunnels were on iron hooks that could be wedged in the window frames. The far end was held firmly by a couple of men standing far below on the lawn. They must have worked, because later generations remember being made to practice a fire drill with them. The housemaids knew the main thing was to wear thick sweaters and hold their arms close to their bodies so they didn’t catch their elbows in the metal hoops of the tunnel."
 


Running water was not installed in Highclere until 1897

Prior to 1897, baths were taken in freestanding tubs in front of the fire in the bedrooms. “If there were 25 guests staying, plus family, that meant 30 fires and 30 baths to fill. There would have been a great deal of running up and down the back stairs, trying not to spill the water as the doormen lugged it up. Even once the plumbing was installed, some jugs of hot water were still taken up. Old habits die hard, and many guests preferred to use a jug and a bowl than the marble inlaid basins.”



Gasp! Staff were allowed to marry and even had days off!

There are plenty of “office romances” on Downton Abbey, and the same was true of real life at Highclere Castle. Countess Carnarvon writes, “In some great houses, any female member of staff who had ‘a follower’, i.e. a boyfriend, would be instantly dismissed—a practice which seems barbaric today—although Highclere may have been more liberal in this respect as numerous marriages occurred between estate staff. The pay was not generous, but of course food and lodging were included, so wages could be saved and service in a household such as the Carnarvons’ was generally seen as a good job with possibilities for advancement. By the 1890s, changes to legislation meant that servants got a week’s paid holiday a year, as well as their half days on Sundays and, sometimes, an evening off in the week.” Lucky them!



Almina’s husband was a petrolhead

“The 5th Earl was known by the moniker Motor Carnarvon and had bought several of the first cars imported into Britain. In 1898 the choice of British cars was still very limited, and the best marque for experienced drivers was considered to be the French Panhard-Levassor. The car was left-hand drive, had four gears and could travel at the corresponding speeds of 4.5, 7, 10, and 13 miles per hour ... He was summoned to appear in court in Newbury for driving at more than 12 miles per hour (the legal limit at the time).”
 
In 1909, Geoffrey de Havilland used the Highclere estate for the world’s first test flights. “By the end of autumn 1910, he had kept the aircraft airborne for more than 50 feet, banking to the left over the road into Highclere, turning a full circle and then landing.” Lord Carnarvon, who witnessed this flight, was “elated at the success which attended the efforts of the flying men.”



Parental attention was in short supply

Every January, Almina and her husband would go to Egypt for a month or two without their children. The children were raised in a separate section of the house than that inhabited by their parents. Almina’s son, Porchy,” later the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, recalled in his memoirs that his parents’ visits to the nursery, usually at tea-time on Sundays, could be excruciating occasions. “There is a rather heart-breaking description of a family too awkward with each other to know what to say, the Earl blustering out questions about how the schooling was coming along, just as his father had with him. Porchy heaved a sigh of relief when the adults turned on their heels and returned to their world.”
 


The Carnarvons didn’t dress like locals on their travels

In Egypt, photos show Carnarvon “wearing a three-piece tweed suit, a wide-brimmed hat with a white band, and stout English shoes.”
 


The Carnarvons were Spiritualists

The first national Spiritualist meeting in the U.K. was held in 1890, hoping to make contact with the spirit world and receive messages from the dead. At Highclere, séances were held in one of the upstairs guest bedrooms. “Once, Porchy and Eve witnessed a bowl of flowers levitating off the table. Eve got so nervous she reportedly had to go into a nursing home for a fortnight’s rest. At another, Howard Carter and a female guest were present, and the lady was placed in a trance in order to channel a spirit message. She began to speak in a strange voice and a language that at first no one could identify. Carter proclaimed, in a tone of amazement, ‘It’s Coptic!’”
 


Lady Almina converted Highclere into a state-of-the-art hospital during the war

As in Downton Abbey, Lady Almina converted Highclere into a hospital for injured officers at the outbreak of war. She brought in the most expert medical staff and provided the best of everything a soldier could possibly need to recover, from state-of-the-art equipment and pioneering operations to abundant fresh food and soft, clean sheets. The library was used as the men’s day room. None of the furniture was moved out but additional chairs were added, so that there was ample space for the men to sit and play cards or to read the books. “Almina asked Alfred to give her £25,000 for the set-up costs. He agreed unhesitatingly.”
 


Almina had a remarkable brother-in-law

Aubrey Herbert was rejected from both the professional army and the Territorials on the grounds that he was more than half-blind. So he got a uniform made, a perfect copy of the one worn by the Irish Guards, in which regiment his brother-in-law was a colonel. When the Guards marched out of Wellington Barracks opposite Buckingham Palace early on the morning of 12 August 1914, he simply fell into step. His mother Elsie and wife Mary waved him off at Victoria Station and Aubrey sat with his friends in a train carriage bound for Southampton, to board the boat to the Continent. He wasn’t discovered until they all disembarked in France, and by that time it was too late for the army to send the stowaway back, so they took him on as an interpreter.” Aubrey found a role as a “galloper,” passing messages between commanders, riding a horse called Moonshine.
 


Almina wrote very long telegrams

“Almina’s telegrams caused some acerbic amusement amongst her Carnarvon relatives as they were never conspicuous for their brevity. She retorted that parsimony in communicating important information was a false economy.”



Almina’s husband nearly pulled out of the Egyptian excavations before King Tut’s tomb was found

“By 1922 the Earl had spent some £50,000 (£10 million in today’s money) over the course of 14 years on excavating in Egypt. It was a serious outlay, even for a man of means. He had sold three of the four estates he had inherited and was one of the last private excavators left.

“He told Carter of his decision at a Highclere house party during Newbury races. Carter was desperate and, having been unable to move Lord Carnarvon by persuasion, said simply that he would fund one last season himself. Carnarvon knew this would bankrupt his old friend. He considered. Touched by Carter’s willingness to risk everything he owned, the Earl agreed to pay for a last season. He was, after all, a gambling man.”
 
The gamble paid off. On Monday Nov. 6, Carter sent Lord Carnarvon a famous cable: “At last have made wonderful discovery in the Valley. A magnificent tomb with seals intact. Recovered same for your arrival. Congratulations.”

 

Carnarvon left his teeth on a train in Egypt

Lord Carnarvon arrived at the train station in Luxor on Jan. 25, 1923 to see King Tut’s tomb. “In his excitement, the Earl, who was always absentminded, had left his two false teeth in the railway carriage; they were returned to him on a crimson cushion.”



The mummy’s curse claimed Carnarvon

On Thursday, April 5, after opening King Tut’s tomb with Carter, Lord Carnarvon died of blood poisoning from an infected mosquito bite.
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« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2012, 09:34:43 am »




Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey











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« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2012, 10:35:50 am »




Countrywise:  The Real Downton Abbey






Uploaded by AngelEyesz89 on Oct 21, 2011

In a one-hour special, Paul Heiney and the Countrywise  team - including historian Bettany Hughes, botanist Rachel de Thame and chef Mike Robinson - visit Highclere Castle in Hampshire, the setting for the hit period drama. They reveal its fascinating history as well as revealing the real life stories from both upstairs and downstairs. They also take a trip around the magnificent surrounding landscape and unearth the link between Highclere Castle, and the world's most famous Egyptian pharaoh.
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« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2012, 01:17:57 pm »

(Paul, I think, would like this: 3:45 - 5:00)

Yes, indeed.  Venison?  Well, I'm having a humble salad right now! 
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« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2012, 01:34:33 pm »



Yes, indeed.  Venison?  Well, I'm having a humble salad right now! 

With some crumbled sage from Lady Fiona's herbaceous border?

 laugh


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« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2012, 10:44:58 pm »

Fascinating stuff!  Thanks, John.  Kiss
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« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2012, 10:51:12 pm »

Yes, indeed.  Venison?  Well, I'm having a humble salad right now! 

With some crumbled sage from Lady Fiona's herbaceous border?

Probably on Royal Doulton with hand-painted periwinkles.  Wink  Grin
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« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2012, 04:01:59 am »

I loved the first season of Downton Abbey, which I watched on Netflix Streaming - twice through.  I think I loved the parodies even more.  Those two women from Ab Fab in particular are fantastic.
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« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2012, 05:26:39 am »





I loved the first season of Downton Abbey, which I watched on Netflix Streaming - twice through.  I think I loved the parodies even more.  Those two women from Ab Fab in particular are fantastic.




Parody!!
Grin Grin Grin




BEST. EVER.

 Cheesy Grin

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« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2012, 05:38:48 am »




NOT parody, but FUN!

(Aren't they all adorable??!)
"What is a--Weekend??"



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« Reply #50 on: January 04, 2012, 05:55:36 am »




(Yes. Seriously adorable.)
(And attractive. All seriously attractive.)




(By the way....has anyone noticed before....re "Mrs Patmore", the cook....or, rather, the actress's real name....Ha! Say no more, say no more....)
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« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2012, 06:24:39 am »


Allen Leech ("Branson", the Irish chauffeur) was the gay roommate in the rather forgettable Cowboys and Angels  (2003)




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« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2012, 07:17:13 am »


Terrific BBC Documentary:
Maid in Britain








Maid in Britain Part 4

A mistake at 10:24; the orgy scene in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was not 
filmed in Highclere Castle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highclere_Castle
but in the amazing Elveden Hall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elveden_Hall



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« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2012, 12:43:45 pm »


"What is a--Weekend??"

Saturday and Sunday. I do not know why Americans think they speak English  Grin
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« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2012, 01:46:10 pm »




Saturday and Sunday. I do not know why Americans think they speak English  Grin


The "Weekend" used to be for (US) American "Middle Class" type folk who had to go back to work on Monday (but had had a good time enjoying themselves the two days prior).

Now, of course, "le weekend" is for even the "Leisured Classes" type folk who have a "month of Sundays" each and every month--it keeps the calandar tidy!

 Wink Smiley

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« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2012, 05:04:14 pm »

Somebody else may have noted this already but, if not, the first part of the second series of Downton Abbey will be broadcast on PBS this Sunday evening. Here in Toronto - we pick it up from PBS Buffalo - it will start at 9.00pm.
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« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2012, 10:44:27 am »





.



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« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2012, 11:14:15 am »



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/downton-abbey-season-2_b_1186158.html


'Downton Abbey' Review:
Second Season Stumbles

By Maureen Ryan, TV critic, The Huffington Post
Posted: 1/5/12 12:59 PM ET



Being an aristocrat shouldn't just look easy. It should look absolutely effortless.


The Dowager Countess of Grantham, the most entertaining character on "Downton Abbey" knows this in her bones. She's constantly involved in quietly vicious drawing-room battles, but she carries herself with formidable, even amused, savoir faire. One can't imagine this supremely confident woman with a hair out of place or without the perfect quip.

The fact that [Dame] Maggie Smith makes the Dowager Countess, the matriarch of the high-born Crawley clan, even more delightful in Season 2 is certainly a cause for rejoicing. Every second of her screen time is gold, and everyone involved with "Downton Abbey" knows it.

Unfortunately, "Downton Abbey" (Sunday, PBS; check local listings) itself is a more labored, problematic affair this year, though there are fewer bumpier patches in the second half of the period drama's new season.

Don't worry, you'll still get drawn in to the love affairs and intrigues that take place in the fancy drawing rooms and cramped servants' quarters of the Earl of Grantham's stately home. You'll find yourself rooting for Matthew Crawley, Lord Grantham's earnest, thoughtful heir, who's gone off to fight in World War 1 as the season begins. And despite her hard exterior, you'll find yourself caring about Lady Mary Crawley, Lord Grantham's whipsmart yet quietly vulnerable eldest daughter, who is bored by her conventional life yet can't quite find a way out of her meaningless duties.

Below stairs, you'll find yourself wondering if the sly footman Thomas and his partner in crime, the acerbic ladies' maid O'Brien, will get involved in even more intrigues and revenge scenarios, and it goes without saying that you'll sigh over the star-crossed love affair of the spirited maid Anna and that unlikely heartthrob Mr. Bates, who is an amalgam of all of Jane Austen's worthiest heroes.

Still, your investment in the many stories spun out by creator Julian Fellowes may take longer to develop this year, because the costume drama's pace is off in the early going and it's far more contrived and inconsistent than it was in its first season. The fact is, in its first few episodes, as it struggles to get dozens of different stories in motion, "Downton" itself lacks a certain elegance. Gradual buildups are achieved in some story lines, but others suffer from an abruptness that smudges the show's much-celebrated elegance.

Sixteen seconds: That's the length of an Episode 3 scene that almost caused me to throw the TV remote across the room. It's a key meeting between two characters who have endured a painful separation, and the scene's brevity was emblematic of the choppy editing that especially affects the first half of Season 2. Yes, the wordless scene was followed up several minutes later by a conversation between those characters, but what was the point of slicing the scene into bits? There wasn't one.

During the first few episodes of the season, I began to wonder if the show's creative team was under orders to ensure that most scenes lasted less than a minute. More chilling was the idea that "Downton's" top brass doesn't trust the audience's attention span. Poppycock, as the Dowager Countess might say. Given the chance to do so, costume-drama fans love nothing more than to sink into a story and absorb its every detail and nuance. Give us a few waistcoats, a couple of corsets and good actors reciting well-written dialogue that hints at deep emotions and complex conflicts, and you can make a scene last 20 minutes or more. We'll hardly notice.

The abrupt transitions early in the season, however, foreground the many spinning wheels of the various plots, and the thing is, plot simply isn't "Downton's" strong suit. Atmosphere, relationships, details and terrific performances are the show's draws, and those things are all roughly manhandled when the show whirls around in a hyperactive manner.

It doesn't matter that almost everything that transpires at Lord Grantham's stately home is something we've seen before on some soap opera or other. It doesn't really matter that (as perceptive TV bloggers Tom and Lorenzo point out) the show stacks the deck in favor of certain characters, especially those belonging to the landed gentry, whose positions of power are never seriously questioned by the clearly pro-aristocrat Fellowes. It almost doesn't matter that certain characters are one-dimensional except when the story needs them to act more like human beings (though the inconsistent writing for Lady Cora, the Earl's wife, who is savvy one minute and absurdly naive the next, can be particularly jarring).

My point is, those things are usually forgivable, because when it's really humming -- as it is when the second season moves into high gear -- "Downton" offers a host of other pleasures. Of course, the ensemble cast is generally spectacular, but that's not enough to explain "Downton" fever. Good British actors in competent costume dramas are a dime a dozen on TV these days.

"Downton" is a hit beyond the costume-loving crowd because its core themes are relatable and compassionately conveyed: It's about how people who are stuck in certain positions or ways of life modulate their ambitions or attempt to tolerate (or block) change. The pursuit of social and personal power is a subject that Fellowes knows well (and handled gracefully in "Gosford Park"), and "Downton's" intelligent observations about class, ambition and frustration make it resonate even with those of us who've managed to live our whole lives without valets or footmen.

The crisply told first season of "Downton" set a high bar, and if the second wobbles in the attempt to clear that bar, it is, perhaps, understandable, given that the show tries to synthesize elements of melodrama, soap opera, character drama and drawing-room comedy. The good news is, despite the obvious growing pains, which include some contrived obstacles and clunky character introductions and exits, the show gets things right more often than it gets them wrong, especially as various story lines knit themselves together over the course of the season. In any event, it's very hard to resist a show that made me regularly laugh out loud (for all the right reasons). The Dowager Countess naturally got many of the best lines, but even Cora and the irascible cook, Mrs. Patmore, launched some very entertaining verbal grenades.

All things considered, though there were more frustrations this time around, you can still count me as a "Downton" fan. Even though a few story lines -- such as Lady Sybil's chemistry-free flirtation with the family's chauffeur -- don't quite work, Fellowes and the cast ultimately create a world that is every bit as detailed and real as Dillon, Texas, or Pawnee, Indiana (no wonder Leslie Knope is a big fan).

The fact that the majority of story lines work is a credit to the show's skilled actors, who are able to invest "Downton's" most absorbing tales with layered emotions and poignant restraint. Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens, who play Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, respectively, are particularly worthy of praise; Matthew's war experiences and Lady Mary's search for meaningful autonomy are the lynchpins of the season, and in more scenes than I can count, Dockery and Stevens are simply transfixing. Among the servants, I must single out Jim Carter as the very proper butler Carson and Phyllis Logan as the the practical yet kind housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes; just as their characters keep the house running smoothly, these actors function as the quietly effective lynchpins of many "downstairs" stories.

The last few hours of Season 2, in which the characters are united by a series of post-war crises, are especially strong and affecting. By that point, "Downton's" pace has settled into a much more pleasing rhythm, making the occasional contrivance, cartoonish character or implausibility easier to forgive. There are deaths that will make your eyes mist over, pregnancies, clandestine love affairs, secrets tucked away and sometimes shared. By the wonderful final episode of the season, which takes place as a new decade dawns, you will be -- as I was -- mildly desperate for your next "Downton" fix.

Good thing we already know a third season has already been commissioned.

Follow Maureen Ryan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/moryan
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« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2012, 11:20:53 am »









.



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« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2012, 05:46:26 am »

I am almost finished with Season 1, so I can start season 2 tomorrow night.

 Smiley
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« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2012, 02:05:57 pm »

Season 2 finished here before Christmas. I have seen promos for season 3 but no dates yet. It is the silly season here until Feb  due to holidays. As I will be away most of Feb and April, I am worried I might miss it. I am still vacillating about buying a new TV system. The country is going digital this year and I have to make a decision soon. At the moment my TV is over 15 years old and I still record on VHS tapes. I have a  DVD player only.
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« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2012, 12:10:29 pm »







Downton Abbey
Season 2, Episode 1

Downton Abbey Premiere Recap:
Love During Wartime

By Amanda Dobbins
1/8/12 at 11:00 PM





The magic of Downton Abbey 's first season — besides the house, and the Edwardian chic, and of course Dame Maggie Smith's acid one-liners — was that unlike most other costume dramas, you watched an episode without any clue about what might happen. With Austen or Merchant Ivory drama, we've usually already read the book, and if not, we assume that duty and love will prevail (and then everyone will dress for dinner.) But on Downton,  there were actual surprises — delicious, soapy, "Turkish diplomat dying in someone's bed" surprises. Sometimes a war even pops up to ruin a garden party. If you have "somehow" already seen Downton 's second season, which originally aired in the UK last fall, you will be aware that this second season stays very committed to high drama: if you, the responsible television viewer, are starting fresh with PBS, you will perhaps have read that things get a little nuts this season. Vulture  will be recapping the show along with the Masterpiece schedule, and so we won't spoil the twists ahead of time, except to say, get ready, because so much crazy stuff is about to go down, you won't even remember that time Lady Edith called Lady Mary a slut in the hallway.

"So much crazy stuff" is also an apt description of the season's first episode, which, at a running length of two hours, offers an overwhelming amount of exposition and romantic developments to cry over. Julian Fellowes: wasting no time in screwing up everyone's love life. Amy Heckerling thanks you, Sir Julian! And the rest of us are sitting over here in agony, wondering why in God's name Matthew couldn't use his two years in the trenches to realize that he really loves Lady Mary and should just get over himself already, because there's a freaking war going on. But we're ahead of ourselves; we'll get to the heartbreak soon enough. First, a quick roll call of all the major character developments, because there are so very many.

When we last left Downton,  Lord Grantham was announcing the start of World War I to the guests assembled at his garden party; season two begins in 1916, at The Somme, where a very grimy Matthew Crawley is trying to navigate his way through an onslaught of enemy fire. Since it is the first minute of the second season, and losing Matthew Crawley at this point would be a bummer from a plot perspective, he does, in fact, make it into the bunker, where he announces that he's up for a few days leave. Where will he go? Oh, you can probably guess. [Roll titles.]

The scene at Downton is majorly hectic, as Cousin Isobel has apparently convinced the Granthams to host a charity concert to raise money for the local hospital. Everyone is helping, and they all have very useful personal information to share while hanging banners or moving chairs or staging an attack on truly hideous floral arrangements. (Never change, Dowager Countess.) In brief, we learn that Anna and Bates are still in love, but Bates is MIA because his mother died. Ethel, a salty new maid, has been pulled in to replace Gwen, who went to be a secretary; Thomas peaced out to join the military health corps (and avoid theft charges). O'Brien is still around, smoking and looking mean, as are Carson, Mrs. Hughes, William, Daisy, Mrs. Padmore, and Branson the chauffeur, who has the unenviable task of having to teach Lady Edith to drive, and therefore having to be inside a car with Lady Edith.

Upstairs, Lord Grantham is bummed that he can't really be in the army, so he's dressing like it, instead. Cora, for her part, is supporting the troops by getting out of bed for breakfast. Sibyl has apparently been getting a lot of bad news from the front, and wants to do something more, so she asks Isobel about training to be a nurse; the increasingly pushy Isobel agrees to help her and suggests that she start by learning some basic kitchen skills. Edith is still at home and is still hateful; it's not immediately clear where Mary is, but this becomes less worrying when the Dowager Countess shows up to help with the fundraiser and starts doubting Cora's ability with the flowers. ("Cora's flowers always look more suited to a first Communion in Southern Italy." To be fair, the sea green hydrangea situation going on in the library is actually very ugly.)

And with that, we are eight minutes into the season. Good lord. As mentioned before, so much happens in this episode that it seems fairly impossible, or at least wildly masochistic, to try to rehash it in chronological order. So we'll divide it up like the Granthams before us, breaking down the Downstairs drama and the Upstairs drama separately (though the stories often meet during the dressing hour. It's not a perfect system, but then, neither was the whole landed gentry/life of service thing. We will do our best.)

Downstairs, the major concern is the love affair between saintly Anna and still-married Bates. Bates returns from London to announce that his mother has left him a decent chunk of money--enough, he thinks, to finally convince his missing wife to consent to a divorce. He tells Anna as much, which is fairly unromantic as far as proposals go, but she doesn't care, because she is bright-eyed and pure of heart, and so she says yes. Great! Cue Bates' wife, who shows up almost immediately to ruin everyone's plan. Not only is Vera Bates a spoil sport, but as played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, she is almost laughably evil: the wild horse-y eye-rolls, the maniacal laugh, that frumpy hat? Okay, crazy cartoon lady. The walking plot device wants Bates and his money back, and so she blackmails him with the worst-kept secret in 1910s London: Lady Mary's pre-marital dalliance with the devastatingly handsome (and now unfortunately dead) Mr. Pamuk. Not only would the scandal disgrace the Granthams, but Anna, too--Vera knows that she helped carry the body--and so Bates agrees to leave Downton, in order to protect his lady love. He of course plays the hero, refusing to tell Anna just why he's ditching her, and she of course suspects that he's being noble, and everyone cries in the courtyard. Then Bates disappears for the rest of the episode, which is maybe more distressing than the fact that he and Anna have to deal with a psycho who looks like the evil twin of Kathy Bates' Titanic  character.

The other major downstairs drama involves William, who, having never seen a television show, is blithely unaware that the sweet, dopey guy is always the one who gets killed off during sweeps, and so he's very anxious to join up with the army. William! No. You have had "death at Verdun" written across your forehead since the Archduke got assassinated back in season one. Mrs. Patmore at least seems aware of this fact, and harangues him about his misguided sense of duty, but William's having none of it. Things get worse when some old-school Code PINK types bust up the charity concert and hand him a white "coward" feather. Clueless Daisy tries to cheer him up by kissing him in the kitchen, but when William finally does  get called up, he thinks she actually "fancies" him, and so he saunters into the kitchen in uniform asking for a picture to take with him. William with Swagger is hugely entertaining ("Pinch me, I'm your dream come true"), but Daisy immediately freaks out, telling Mrs. Patmore she didn't mean it like that, and she definitely doesn't want to be his sweetheart. Oh Daisy, too late, says Mrs. Patmore and everyone who has ever been in junior high.

The rest of our friends in the servants quarters are busy trying to keep Downton running despite the reduced staff.  Carson, in particular, is super uptight and keeps bitching about not having enough footmen to serve a proper dinner. He gets so wound up that he has a panic attack mid-service--he's fine!--but he lands in bed for the duration of the episode. Mrs. Hughes, awesomely, spends her time telling Carson to chill out and eavesdropping on the conversation between Bates and Vera, then spreading the gossip far and wide so that everyone knows wonderful Bates is. Ethel, the new maid, is a pill, inspiring O'Brien to haze her by sending her unannounced into the drawing room after dinner. (Frankly, Ethel deserves it.) O'Brien also helps engineer Thomas's return to Downton, as a staffer at the hospital, but Thomas has to pull an Owen Meany  to land the reassignment. Meanwhile, Lang, the new valet to Lord Grantham, has a major PTSD breakdown and gives O'Brien the opportunity to actually have a heart, when she confronts him about his shellshock. Is it possible that O'Brien will not be the most hateful Downton Abbey employee in season two? Only Ethel can know for sure!

Upstairs, the war is ruining everyone's good time, but to the credit of the Granthams, they are all eager to actually do something to help, rather than just canceling their hunting season. Lord Grantham is delighted to be offered a position in the army, then devastated when he learns it's only an honorary title; he tells anyone who will listen (William, Cora, even Matthew) that he feels like a fool sitting around at Downton. Cousin Isobel remains hugely committed to (and slightly obnoxious about) her work at the local hospital, but as mentioned before, she's now joined by Thomas and new nurse Sybil.

That's right: new nurse Sybil! The youngest Grantham has ditched her harem pants and is now the village Clara Barton. To become a nurse, Sybil naturally had to go to training school, which sets up two of the most delightful scenes from this episode: Sybil, learning how to make tea ("Everyone knows how to fill a kettle"), and Sybil, getting dropped off at school by Branson, who totally confesses that he's in love with her! He plays it with equal parts agony and authority, which is a pretty genius strategy: how could a politically-conscious third daughter resist an over-confident Irish radical who also wants to make out with her? Change the social order by marrying me.  Too smart. Sybil says no for the moment, but she promises not to give him away, and then she stares at him like she just realized that he's a boy and she's a girl and this is a thing that could happen. (Really, Sybil, how did you not see that one coming? Has Mary taught you nothing?)

Speaking of Lady Mary, it is time to address the hellscape that is her current love life. It pains us to even type the words, but we understand how storytelling works, sort of, and so it had to be expected: Matthew is engaged. To someone else. Fine, now you know. The woman in question is named Lavinia Swire, and she is, in the words of Carson, "not to be found in Burke's Peerage, or even Burke's Landed Gentry." Edith, ever the shrew, drops the fiance bomb on an unsuspecting Lady Mary, but Mary plays it cool, announcing instead that she also has a new romantic interest: Sir Richard Carlisle, a newspaper magnate. And here are our ill-advised parallel love stories for the season: Matthew and his mousey Lavinia vs. Mary and the vulgar Carlisle. Both parties are invited to Downton, so that Mary and Matthew can peacock around announcing how happy they are for the other couple. Soon we learn that Lavinia and Carlisle actually know each other already, and have reason to be bickering in the garden. (Did they have an affair? Please say they had an affair. And are still in love. And are going to run off together and not bother us with this competing engagement nonsense anymore.)

The situation looks bleak, especially for Mary, who is quite obviously still in love with Matthew and admits as much in private to Anna and Carson. (Carson, adorably, tells her that no man would ever reasonably choose Miss Swire over Lady Mary.) But since it is wartime, and because beneath that icy exterior Lady Mary has feelings to rival Adele's, she can't totally suppress her desperation, and so we are treated to two heartbreaking encounters between Mary and Matthew. The second, in which Mary prepares to confess her feelings for Matthew, only to meet a weepy Lavinia and chicken out, is a triumph of sad-eye-acting.  But we'd like to focus on the goodbye at the train station, which channels Brief Encounter  and is a reliable litmus test of whether or not you have a functioning heart. (If you are crying: yes. If you are dry-eyed: no.) Mary hands Matthew her good luck charm--a stuffed donkey, it looks like--and tells him, while barely keeping it together, that he "must promise to bring it back without a scratch." Matthew tears up, and tells Mary how glad he is that they've made peace. He asks her to take care of his mother and Lavinia should the worst happen.  At this point even the steely Mary starts to crack, and there's legitimate terror in her eyes as she kisses him goodbye. Michelle Dockery kills this scene, cloche hat and all, and it would almost be painful to watch, if it weren't so excruciatingly wonderful. (Watch it again! It's so great.) But can we stand a whole season of train station goodbyes? Can the human heart bear so much longing? We sincerely hope it doesn't have to.

The B-side upstairs drama involves Lady Edith getting it on with a married farmer, and then being dumped by a married farmer, which, congrats to her, we guess. (Congrats also to Lady Mary for getting to say the line, “She’s found her metier; farm laboring.”) Isobel and the Dowager Countess have a standoff over military deferrals, and nobody comes out a winner--especially not Molesley, who begs Dr. Clarkson to spare him from service, even after the Dowager Countess’s shady letter-writing campaign has been revealed. Meanwhile, Lord Grantham goes ballistic at Bates for quitting without an explanation, then is chastened when Carson informs him that Bates was falling on his sword for the family. (Mrs. Hughes’s eavesdropping at work!) Carson refuses to explain why  exactly the family would be shamed, but Lord Grantham is that much closer to learning about the time that a Turkish guy died while taking his daughter’s virginity. That should go well.

Two more plot-relevant details: Carlisle does, in fact, propose to Mary, in a depressing reprisal of train station goodbyes, and Mary announces to Anna that she plans to accept him. On the home front, Sybil and Isobel join forces to demand that Downton be turned into a convalescent home for the duration of the war. More gossipmongers and wounded soldiers, coming soon to a landed estate near you!

Finally, a round-up of all the relevant Dowager Countess quotables from this episode, because we understand why you actually watch Downton Abbey :

”War makes early risers of us all.”

”Anna, help me do battle with this monstrosity. It looks like a creature from the Lost World."

”Oh, that's a relief. I hate Greek drama, when everything happens off stage."

Dowager Countess: "So, that's Mary's replacement. Well, I suppose looks aren't everything."
Cora: "I'm afraid meeting us all together must be very intimidating."
Dowager Countess: "I do hope so."

in response to the news that Lavinia’s father is a lawyer, like Matthew: “My my, you're very well placed if you ever in trouble with the law."

"Remember your great aunt Roberta.  She loaded the guns at Lucknow."

”Edith! You are a lady, not Toad of Toad Hall.”

"I am not a romantic, but even I will concede that the heart does not exist solely for the purpose of pumping blood."


See you next week, when hopefully Julian Fellowes will indulge at least a small amount of Greek drama.
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« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2012, 01:15:20 pm »

I saw Julian Fellowes--at least, I think it was Julian Fellowes--tell Brian Williams of NBC that Dame Maggie makes his lines funnier than he writes them.  Grin
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« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2012, 01:27:13 pm »

Love the recap, John.  And, I meant to thank you for all the above clips.  They made for enjoyable watching, in anticipation of the new season. 

"Lavinia Swire":  I can't decide if it's more Proulxian or Dickensian. 
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« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2012, 01:31:30 pm »




I saw Julian Fellowes--at least, I think it was Julian Fellowes--tell Brian Williams of NBC that Dame Maggie makes his lines funnier than he writes them.  Grin



I'm glad he acknowleges what is manifestly true. Sir Julian (now actually Lord  ("call me Julian") Fellowes since 2011   Roll Eyes ) is a very lucky "Fellowe" indeed; if he had never met a certain Robert Altman, I think most of us would have never heard of him....


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« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2012, 01:37:24 pm »



Love the recap, John.  And, I meant to thank you for all the above clips.  They made for enjoyable watching, in anticipation of the new season. 

"Lavinia Swire":  I can't decide if it's more Proulxian or Dickensian. 



Thanks, Paul!

Re "Lavinia Swire": Kenneth Grahame? Beatrix Potter?   (Oh, Swire, not Swine!  laugh )


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« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2012, 02:41:03 pm »

I saw Julian Fellowes--at least, I think it was Julian Fellowes--tell Brian Williams of NBC that Dame Maggie makes his lines funnier than he writes them.  Grin
Whenever I see that Maggie Smith is in a movie, I automatically want to see it. She and Judy Dench are marvellous. If both are in a movie it has to be a must-see.
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« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2012, 03:15:43 pm »








Hand me Downton :
How dresses in ITV hit have been
recycled from other major films

Gowns and accessories previously worn
by stars including Uma Thurman,
Emma Thompson and Catherine Zeta-Jones
 
'You can’t supply originals to everyone because it would make an already
expensive programme simply unaffordable', says costumier Tim Angel


By Liz Thomas
Last updated at 12:52 AM on 10th January 2012


If you had the odd moment of deja vu during the last series of Downton Abbey,  then don’t worry – there’s a reason some of those beautiful gowns looked familiar. Despite the ITV show’s £12million budget, attentive viewers may have spotted that some of its leading ladies wore Hollywood hand-me-downs. Lavish dresses worn by stars including Catherine Zeta Jones, Emma Thompson and Uma Thurman have been recycled and given the Downton  treatment to save money.

A red dress worn by Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, for example, was first seen on Miss Zeta Jones in the 2007 thriller Death Defying Acts.


   
Seeing double: Michelle Dockery's Lady Mary in a red dress, pictured left... and the original first
work by Catherine Zeta Jones in Death Defying Acts  in 2007



In fact the pair have shared two outfits. The second is a floral blouse first worn by Miss Thompson 20 years ago in the film Howards End. It was then passed on to Miss Zeta Jones, again in Death Defying Acts,  before ending up in Lady Mary’s wardrobe.



Truly vintage: Lady Mary, pictured left in a blouse first worn by Emma Thompson's character
in Howard's End,  pictured right



Continuing the trend, Dockery wears a fetching silky green dress with sheer arms, a frock that had previously been worn by Radha Mitchell when portraying the wife of Peter Pan  author J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland  in 2004.


   
In Downtown Abbey, Michelle Dockery (right) recycles a gown previously seen in
Finding Neverland in 2004



And on a separate occasion, she is seen in an elaborate black choker so distinctive that viewers remembered Monica Bellucci wearing the same accessory in the film Brotherhood Of The Wolf  almost a decade ago.


   
Dockery (right) wears an elaborate black choker worn by Monica Bellucci in the film
Brotherhood Of The Wolf



Eagle-eyed viewers also noticed that Cora Crawley, played by Elizabeth McGovern, wore an adapted version of a dress sported 12 years ago by Miss Thurman, in Henry James’s The Golden Bowl,  although the gown appears to have been altered slightly by dressmakers.



Oddly familiar: Cora Crawley, pictured left in an adapted dress worn by Uma Thurman's character
in The Golden Bowl



Dame Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham also appears in a long-sleeved, teal silk dress. as worn by Thurman in the same 2000 film.


   
Dame Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham appears in a long-sleeved, teal
silk dress (right) also worn by Thurman in the 2000 film, The Golden Bowl



And in the first series, Laura Carmichael’s Lady Edith Crawley wore a white dress from ITV’s 2007 adaptation of EM Forster’s A Room With a View.



Mirror image: Lady Edith Crawley, pictured left, in a dress worn by Elaine Cassidy's character
in ITV's A Room with A View



According to Katie Bugg, a designer who runs Recycledmoviecostumes.com this is common practice on expensive productions to ensure budgets don't overrun.

She states: 'Recycled movie costumes are gowns that often appear in one production and then go on to be used in another. Many movies have very small costume budgets, which means that instead of making all of the costumes, the designer is forced to rent costumes from a costume house. Sometimes costumes are altered significantly to give it a new look, and sometimes the dress is used as it appeared for the first time.'

Downton ’s costume designer Susannah Box has previously said only a third of the show’s outfits are new. ‘We couldn’t have done all of them – it would have cost a fortune, way over our budget,’ she said.

Tim Angel, whose costume firm Angels provided many of Downtown Abbey ’s frocks, said: ‘I would say around two-thirds of the costumes you see in Downton  are from stock and have been used before. There is nothing wrong with that. You can’t supply originals to everyone because it would make an already expensive programme simply unaffordable.’

Despite the cost cutting measure, some characters, such as Samantha Bond’s Lady Rosamund Painswick, were dressed entirely in outfits hired from outside. Recycledmoviecostumes.com showcases many similar examples from other period dramas. One brown dress has appeared in seven productions over the past 15 years, including Pride & Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Little Dorrit and The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister.  Meanwhile, a yellow ball gown created for the 1994 film The Madness Of King George  has made six more appearances, one of them in a 2006 episode of Doctor Who.

Downton Abbey,  which tells the story of a fictional estate in North Yorkshire, first aired in September 2010 and has since been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards.

A third season will be broadcast in September this year.
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« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2012, 05:18:05 pm »

How about that! Even the toffs wear hand-me-downs!  Grin
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« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2012, 06:18:04 pm »

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2012/01/downton-abbey-starts-off-strong.html


Downton Abbey
Starts Off Strong
In Ratings

By Amanda Dobbins
Today at 3:30 PM




4.2 million people watched the season premiere of the British costume drama on Sunday, even though the second season has already aired in full in the U.K. (Earl Grantham is so proud of America right now.) Downton 's two-hour debut averaged a 2.7 rating, which is double PBS’s average viewership and well up from its season-one ratings. Or, if you prefer your ratings in comparative terms, Downton 's viewership is on par with Community and bigger than Mad Men. Which raises the important question: Is Matthew Crawley the new Don Draper? Self-made men, wartime heroes, devastating side smiles — there's something here. Discuss.

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« Reply #70 on: January 10, 2012, 07:04:26 pm »

John, please forgive me, this is WAY OT, but I couldn't help myself.  A young 40 year old Dame Maggie as a guest on the Carol Burnett Show, as Gwendylspire Boughgrough in 1974.  Dig the legs.  


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« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2012, 07:56:58 pm »

John, please forgive me, this is WAY OT, but I couldn't help myself.  A young 40 year old Dame Maggie as a guest on the Carol Burnett Show, as Gwendylspire Boughgrough in 1974.  Dig the legs.  





Wowza! As you say, great gams!

Note to the (possibly deceased) members of the writing team: "The King and Queen welcomes you--"

Really!!??  Talk about lèse-majesté!!

And talk about OT! Odd Fact: Dame Maggie is one year younger  than Ms. Burnett! Total Odd Fact: a friend walked into a restaurant near where I live (a restaurant which is half-owned by Justin Timberlake, of all people--weirdly, somehow, I still  haven't managed to get there myself) and who was sitting in the waiting area/ lounge off the bar, but looking, well, who was  indesputably--Carol Burnett!

Unfortunately, my friend broke the New Yorkers/Celebrity-in-Mufti Convenant, which is never but NEVER acknowledge a celebrity, ESPECIALLY in a restaurant EVER  (ok, he's a fan, but even so). He went up to her and said, "Oh Ms. Burnett--" and she, the utterly indesputably Carol Burnett, serenely (and a bit evilly) let him know that, no, she was not  Carol Burnett. And he had to walk away with his tail between his legs. As the young people now say: Burn!!!

 Roll Eyes

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« Reply #72 on: January 10, 2012, 11:02:36 pm »

John, please forgive me, this is WAY OT, but I couldn't help myself.  A young 40 year old Dame Maggie as a guest on the Carol Burnett Show, as Gwendylspire Boughgrough in 1974.  Dig the legs.  



Vewy entertaining, and, I aspire to have Dame Maggie's legs and everything attached to her!
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« Reply #73 on: January 15, 2012, 05:55:51 pm »

Maggie's Top Ten Moments
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« Reply #74 on: January 15, 2012, 06:09:05 pm »

These boys are too cute!

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« Reply #75 on: January 15, 2012, 06:35:50 pm »

The three sisters on Jonathan Ross.  Don't miss the very special extra at 8:58

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« Reply #76 on: January 15, 2012, 06:38:29 pm »




                                               Roll Eyes







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« Reply #77 on: January 15, 2012, 06:53:30 pm »

There's nothing like Monty Python!   laugh laugh
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« Reply #78 on: January 15, 2012, 10:58:56 pm »

Extended main theme

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« Reply #79 on: January 16, 2012, 09:21:10 am »

  Downton Abbey just won the Golden Globes award, for best mini series.  Yay.

  I was hoping that Dame Maggie would win an award also, but it seems that she was not even nominated.  The man that plays the Head of the clan, I forget his name. (Hugh Bonneville.) Won for his role. 

   Looks like you are as much in love with this show as I am Paul.  I like to hear it when people I know appreciate the same shows.  I sent off and purchased the video.  I can't wait for the new season to start.
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« Reply #80 on: January 16, 2012, 09:28:48 am »

These boys are too cute!



       Oh thank you!!  That was awesome.
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« Reply #81 on: January 16, 2012, 02:18:50 pm »

They are repeating series 2 here now. I watched for half an hour but it is really too soon to see it again. I did pick up more of Maggie's one liners after reading the review here  When I saw the adverts I thought it was for series 3 but I gather that is not showing until the 2nd half of the year.
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« Reply #82 on: January 16, 2012, 09:48:02 pm »


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/8789982/Downton-Abbey-Theres-a-wedding-a-funeral-and-a-sex-scene.-Guess-which-one-Im-in....html


Downton Abbey:
'There’s a wedding, a funeral and a
sex scene. Guess which one I’m in...

Everyone is wondering what will become of Lady Mary.
Actress Michelle Dockery lets us into a few secrets about
playing Downton Abbey ’s leading lady.


By Glenda Cooper
27 Sep 2011 6:30AM BST



Downton Abbey's Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) and Lady Mary
(Michelle Dockery)



If Matthew Crawley, the middle-class lawyer turned heir to an earldom, had not already been sent to the trenches in the new series of Downton Abbey,  then public outcry would seen him dispatched there anyway. For Crawley (Dan Stevens) broke his cousin Lady Mary ’s heart by turning up with a new fiancée, of whom the Dowager Countess sniffily remarked: “I suppose looks aren’t everything.”
 
“Matthew is happy, and that’s all that matters to Mary,” asserts Michelle Dockery, the actress who plays Lady Mary. “She’s still deeply in love and full of regret, but she has to move on.”
 
Ah yes, the complicated love life of Lady Mary – the cold and snobbish eldest daughter of the Earl of Grantham – has proved one of the biggest draws of Downton.  In the first series, the naughty aristocrat managed to smuggle a Turkish diplomat into her bed, where he promptly (and inconveniently) expired.

Now with her on-off entanglement with Matthew clearly off, she is considering a proposal from newspaper magnate Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen) – but with such a scandalous past, is it wise to get involved? Particularly as Matthew’s fiancée Lavinia and Sir Richard have a secret that links them...

No wonder 10 million of us tuned in for the latest instalment of Julian Fellowes’s tale of battles among the bustles, figures which trounced the BBC’s Spooks.  The series has not only scooped four Emmys, but has just been named by the Guinness Book of Records as the most critically acclaimed TV show.

Forget the clunking lines (William, the footman, now clearly designated as First World War cannon fodder, says of his desire to get to the battlefield, “I’ll be beggared if it’s over before I get there”) and the coincidences (Matthew and evil footman Thomas bump into each other during a battle that claimed 623,000 casualties on the Allied side alone), the period drama is perfect Sunday night fare: sex, blackmail and wonderful gowns.
 
Yet the actress who plays Lady Mary says the aristocrat would have had nothing to do with her in real life: “Oh, no – Lady Mary would never have talked to me – I’d have been in service,” says Essex girl Dockery. “In fact, I asked my nan recently if any of our family had been in service, and she reckons they were.”
 
Dockery’s porcelain-white skin and cut-glass tones would give any Lady a run for their money, but in reality she comes from Chadwell Heath, her father is a former lorry driver turned surveyor and her mother delivers meals on wheels.
 
Despite having no theatrical bent themselves, her parents encouraged their youngest daughter to pursue acting. “I think my parents knew before I did that I was going to be an actress because I was doing impressions of Margaret Thatcher at the age of four.”
 
Her A-level drama teacher helped Dockery, now 29, apply for a three-week course at the National Youth Theatre (“I walked in and it was like winning the lottery; I knew this was what I wanted to do”). She then took a year out to save up to go to the Guildhall drama school – jobs included working in a newspaper recruitment office and as an assistant at the NYT. Her big break came in 2008 as Eliza Doolittle in Sir Peter Hall’s production where she won rave reviews and was spotted by a Downton  producer.
 
Dockery muses on the reasons for the show’s success: “It feels like a familiar period drama. But because it’s not a remake, or an adaptation of Austen or Dickens, the audience is seeing these stories for the first time and so they feel it is theirs. And no one knows the ending of an episode, in the way you would if it was an Austen adaptation.”
 
There was some cynicism whether ITV could pull off a high-production-value drama (each episode cost £1 million). Dockery says that scrupulous attention to detail put paid to that. “We have Alistair Bruce, a historian on set… Even when we’re just in the background of a scene, we’re given dialogue that’s scripted and when we’re not eating we have to put our hands in our lap.
 
“Julian [Fellowes] gets very annoyed if he watches something back and it’s not correct. One of the footmen wasn’t wearing gloves in one scene and Hugh [Bonneville] was wearing the wrong suit for walking in another, and we had to reshoot.”
 
The second series runs from 1916-1919 and features scenes from the trenches, while Downton Abbey is being turned into a convalescent home for soldiers. “It wouldn’t feel right if too much time was taken away from the house,” says Dockery. “The abbey itself is like a character.”
 
Lady Mary herself now has decisions to make. At 26, and “dangerously close to being on the shelf”, she becomes involved with Sir Richard, despite her father declaring that he doesn’t want “a hawker of newspaper scandal” in the house. “[Sir Richard’s] right for her in many ways,” says Dockery. “It’s like a business partnership rather than a romance. They would do well together in society, but Matthew is always there.
 
The problem is that they have this friendship – they become good friends in the second series.” (In fact, Dockery and Stevens are good friends; they had worked together on the BBC’s The Turn of the Screw. )
 
Lady Mary also has to get her hands dirty in the war effort. “She has to muck in… she does even end up wearing an apron at one point.” Unthinkable! For one of Downton ’s highlights is the fabulous clothes that Lady Mary wears. Although she is in casual jumper and jeans today, Dockery yearns for more formal times.
 
“I think we’ve lost our femininity a little,” she says. “It was a wonderful period when you would dress for dinner. Even wearing your Sunday best for church – it’s a shame we’ve lost that.”
 
In this series, though, Downton’s clothes have become slightly more comfortable – “In two outfits I’m not even wearing a corset!” – a relief to the actress given the 12-hour days and six-day weeks spent filming.
 
During breaks, Dockery says she would “take out my guitar and sit with Elizabeth [McGovern, who plays the Countess] with our skirts hoicked up playing country music. Otherwise, I hang out with Laura Carmichael and Jessica Brown-Findlay [who play her younger sisters] watching Mad Men  on our laptops.”
 
Singing with McGovern on set blossomed into a collaboration: Dockery is recording backing vocals for McGovern’s band, Sadie and the Hotheads.
 
An accomplished jazz singer, she’s also working with the famous Ronnie Scott’s club, as well as rehearsing for Joe Wright’s new film, Anna Karenina.  Outside work, she lives with her architect boyfriend in fashionable Clerkenwell.
 
But her main priority is the remaining two weeks of filming at Highclere for the Downton  Christmas special, and she’s cautious about what she can reveal. Could the flu pandemic remove inconvenient characters to bring Mary and Matthew together? “Everyone gets caught up in the flu pandemic one way or another.”
 
Dockery goes on: “So much of the fate of Downton  depends on Matthew’s choice of wife. They [Matthew and Mary] are an ideal pairing. The audience will be rooting for them, like the family is. But Mary missed her chance. It’ll be interesting to see how the audience take to Lavinia and Carlisle – maybe they’ll change their minds.”
 
But what firm details can she give? “There’s a wedding, a funeral and a sex scene. I’m in two – no, wait,” she corrects herself. “I’m in one of those. The thing is, I can see people will think that I am involved in a particular one of those three, but I’m not. People will be really surprised.”
 
“And I can say that the incident with the Turkish diplomat comes back to haunt Mary in the second series. I can’t tell you why, but it could literally bring down the whole of the Crawley family – it’s huge.”
 
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« Reply #83 on: January 16, 2012, 10:12:44 pm »



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/8782648/Downton-Abbey-ITV1-episode-two-review.html


Downton Abbey
ITV1, episode two, review
Serena Davies gets emotional over the second episode of
the new series of ITV1's popular period soap Downton Abbey.


By Serena Davies
25 Sep 2011 10:15PM BST



Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) in
episode two of the second series of Downton Abbey



Well it didn’t take long for emotions to run as high as those preposterous spires that jostle for position along the upper reaches of Downton Abbey itself. If it wasn’t the unspoken passion of Lady Mary, it was Anna’s stricken little face after Bates’s abandonment of her, or Edith’s dismay at her fast-thwarted amour for the local farmer.
 
And that was just the romance, which we got in pre-war Downton  too. But now there’s bodily harm to deal with as well. Tonight there was shell shock, a suicide and the execution of Mrs Padmore’s nephew for cowardice. Rarely has a second episode of a long series been so packed with miserable incidents.

The Great War is looking like it’s going to cast a very serious pall indeed over Downton Abbey, as of course it must. And (Julian) Fellowes’s decision to concentrate on those at home rather than the soldiers at the front is proving an excellent one, giving the viewer some genuine insight into the helpless anxiety of those who were left behind.

It was left to the Dowager Countess alone to give us the occasional laugh. Her monopoly of all the decent lines grows only greater, or perhaps Maggie Smith’s performance is soaring to even more impressive heights. “The truth is neither here nor there, it’s the look of the thing that matters,” was my favourite of the night. In joint second came the admonition to Edith over her eagerness to drive: “This is not Toad of Toad Hall!” (Yes, Fellowes has done his research – The Wind in the Willows  came out in 1908). And her dismissal of the pedigree of the family her daughter married into: “They were no great threat to the Plantagenets.”

In all it was a wonderful episode, if one requiring hankies. The one small caveat is that Lady Mary’s new beau, the alarmingly bourgeois Sir Richard Carlisle (that’s not a hereditary “Sir”), seems far too soft spoken and inoffensive to be quite the threat to propriety the Dowager Countess and the rest of her family seem to believe him to be. But then Iain Glen, who plays him, is a subtle, clever actor, and can do nasty with the best of them when the moment truly requires it.
 
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« Reply #84 on: January 16, 2012, 10:38:17 pm »



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8769654/How-Downton-minds-its-manners.html


How Downton 
minds its manners

Vicki Power meets Alastair Bruce,
the royal equerry in charge of
historical accuracy and etiquette
on Downton Abbey
.

By Vicki Power
16 Sep 2011 7:03PM BST



Downton Abbey:  etiquette expert Alastair Bruce.


As Downton Abbey  swept us magically back to Edwardian England last year, within its vast fanbase was a small but vocal contingent who took to the internet to decry the drama’s perceived anachronisms. Rather like the moths that Bates strives to keep away from the Earl of Grantham’s suits, they seemed to relish picking holes in it.

So, with a new series starting tomorrow, it’s worth noting that Downton ’s producers actually go to great lengths to ensure that everything from manners to medals are suitably “period”. Their historical adviser, present on set nearly every day, knows more about etiquette – or “protocol” as he prefers to call it – than Mrs Patmore has cooked hot dinners.

He is Alastair Bruce OBE, 51, Queen’s herald, Territorial Army colonel and equerry to Prince Edward. We meet on a rainy day at Highclere Castle during the filming of the new series.

He is dressed as a First World War colonel, since he’s being an extra for the day, for fun. But Bruce’s main job is to keep an eye on everyone else. “Today I’m trying to get the extras playing soldiers – some of whom look like a sack of potatoes in uniform – to stand in a military manner,” says Bruce, in the finely modulated tones of the well bred.

An expert on the British monarchy, heraldry, medals and country house etiquette, Bruce is an impressive repository of information. As Sky News’s commentator at the royal wedding, for example, he broke the story that David Beckham was wearing his OBE on the wrong lapel. “I almost wish I hadn’t done it now,” he says. “I wouldn’t have wanted to embarrass him.”
 
Bruce’s remit for Downton  covers everything from how doors are opened to how a character gets out of a car. In fact, automobile egress remains preoccupation of today’s filming: a general’s entourage is arriving at Downton. “We’re using a vintage Rolls-Royce, and the person who owns the car said that the best way to come out of it is backwards, but you can’t have a general sticking his bum out at the people waiting to greet him,” chuckles Bruce. “Also military people always turn up with their caps on, and if you arrived with a cap you simply could not get out of that car while the roof was on.” So the car’s roof is being removed.
 
It’s the second change Bruce has requested today. In a dining scene, “the director wanted the food to be brought in the same door the family enters through,” snorts Bruce. “I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think so!’ It has to come in from the servery.”
 
Table protocol is a particular Bruce bugbear. For example, he never puts Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) at either end of the dining table: “It’s twaddle that they would sit at the ends.” In fact, they would sit in the middle. “From there you have much more chance to interact and control what’s going on. The ends of the table are more junior positions.”
 
Then there’s the posture problem. “Most of the younger generation have not been brought up to sit up straight,” says Bruce. “But 100 years ago children would not have been allowed to sit at the dinner table until they had learned to.”
 
Bruce has also had the shoe brushes changed, spotted the wrong rank on the shoulder of one of Bonneville’s uniforms and asked the same actor to take his hands out of his pockets (an anachronism).
 
While Bruce says it would be “arrogant” to assume he gets everything right, an hour in his company suggests he firmly believes there is always a correct way of doing things. “I was in the Scots Guards,” he says. “That gave me a desire to deliver the best, because, to them, excellence is the only thing that matters.” Downton ’s authenticity, it seems, is in safe hands.
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« Reply #85 on: January 16, 2012, 11:51:00 pm »


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8769641/Downton-Abbey-is-sheer-fantasy-says-historian.html


Downton Abbey
is sheer fantasy, says historian
Downton Abbey ’s portrayal of country house life is sanitised fantasy,
according to the historian and broadcaster A.N. Wilson
.
 
By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor
17 Sep 2011 7:00AM BST





So dismayed is A.N. Wilson by the perceived inaccuracies in ITV1’s period drama, which returns to our screens tomorrow, that he turned the airwaves blue when discussing it on BBC Radio 4’s Today  programme.
 
““We all know that during the years before and after the First World War, life was miserable for most people and we did need a re-ordering of society. And I don’t want to be too serious about it, but the idea that Downton Abbey  represents this country’s finest hour is b-------, basically,” Wilson said.
 
He immediately apologised for his language, while John Humphrys, the Today  presenter, spluttered: “I’m not sure we allow that word on the air.”
 
Wilson explored the Downton Abbey  era in his book, After the Victorians, and said it was far removed from the world created by Julian Fellowes.
 
“Of course it’s harmless fun and I’m not going to suggest that people sitting down on their sofas need to be engaged in gritty Marxist realism on a Sunday evening,” he said.
 
“Nevertheless, Julian Fellowes has claimed that Downton Abbey  - which is sheer fantasy and a sanitised version of the past - is realistic and that we ought to go back to the old days.
 
“I’m not being po-faced about it, but a programme that depicted the real lives of servants would have been a very interesting one. It’s worth emphasising how dirty and how smelly life was for almost everybody before about 1950.”
 
Prof Alison Light, an academic and author of Mrs Woolf and Her Servants,  which explored the relationship between Virginia Woolf and her domestic staff, said that members of the Edwardian aristocracy were “mean and vindictive”.
 
“It is a very liberal fantasy and, if it’s nostalgia, it’s obviously for a time that didn’t exist,” she said of the programme.
 
“It is very paternalistic and benign and generous, and nobody is nasty to anyone. So it is very much of the present moment; it is not a depiction of the Edwardian years.
 
“This is fiction. It’s preposterous. It’s a romance.”
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« Reply #86 on: January 17, 2012, 07:16:55 pm »






Downton Abbey
Season 2, Episode 2

Downton Abbey  Recap:
Atonement

By Amanda Dobbins
Yesterday at 1:00 AM





In the first, mind-bogglingly dense two-hour episode of Downton Abbey,  the Granthams — and the servants who love them — did their best to keep on keeping on, in spite of the war raging just across the Channel. Carson, the Vaudeville star-turned-stuffy butler, spoke for most everyone in the house (Sybil and William excepted) when he insisted that standards be kept high and maids kept out of the dining room. Love triangles were still everyone's primary concern. But World War I can’t be sidelined forever, and it is the major character in this second episode, as Downton Abbey is turned into a convalescent home for wounded officers. Invalids in uniform are moved into spare bedrooms, the library is turned into a rec room, and every member of the household, upstairs and downstairs, is forced to confront some consequence of the war. It doesn't make for the most romantic hour of television (almost zero Matthew and Mary alone time! Unacceptable), but then wartime requires sacrifices of us all.
 
The hospital transformation is great news for two previously loathed characters who get a chance to act like humans — sympathetic humans, even — in this week's installment. Are you ready to forgive Lady Edith and O’Brien for their first season treachery? O'Brien, granted, has much bigger sins to atone for — Edith wrote a letter, while O'Brien, effectively, killed the Grantham's unborn son with a bar of soap. But season two O’Brien has discovered a heretofore unknown capacity for guilt (Thomas’s bewilderment in the courtyard reflects our own) and her daily machinations have taken on the air of, dare we say, penance. Consider her dressing room scheme of the week, which is actually executed in the interest of protecting Lady Grantham, rather than tricking Lady Grantham into asking Lord Grantham for something that Thomas and O'Brien want. And she even sticks up for the crazy valet with PTSD! (Let us just note that, given poor Lang's resemblance to Crispin Glover's Thin Man from Charlie's Angels,  this is really an act of charity on the part of O'Brien.) Whether O’Briens do-gooding is enough to make up for her truly heinous actions depends in large part on whether you hold O'Brien or Julian Fellowes ultimately responsible for the SoapSlip Affair (Real talk: they were never going to make a show about the infant heir of Downton Abbey) and, more cravenly, how much you want to see Matthew Crawley take over the house. But O'Brien is trying, at least, and we find ourselves unexpectedly open to the effort.

The sour Edith, meanwhile, has made her way out of the farmhouse and into the infirmary. (For the record, since we've heard some confusion: yes, that farmer was married, and yes, that blonde woman watching them was his wife. Remember in season one when Lady Edith called Lady Mary a slut?) Apparently philandering and tractor-driving can effect major personality change in mere days, because it’s a weirdly industrious Edith who starts taking book orders and learning patient names. More weirdly, the officers seem to actually appreciate her help. One particularly timid man, who's lost his hand, has heard enough kind things from the other patients to know that he should ask Edith for help writing a letter to his mother. Is his mother the Turkish ambassador? (Sorry.) Congrats to Laura Carmichael, who must be so relieved to have some bearable dialogue to work with--and who, to her credit, has a gentle, even likable bedside manner. Way better than Sybil’s, it should be noted.

Where then to direct our dissatisfaction, when Downton ’s two villains are on their best behavior? Branson’s bumbling revolutionary efforts might be a place to start. The insufferable servant's table sermonizing (“They won’t hurt [the Romanovs], why would they?” Oops!), the scowling, the barking at Lady Sybil--this is all very unbecoming behavior. But that plan to stop an enlistment parade and publicly throw the middle finger at the British government? As the glassy-eyed Sybil points out: that is really, really dumb. And even dumber is the actual protest that Branson comes incredibly close to executing, which involves an urn of garbage water and one of the desert explorers from The English Patient  reincarnated as a visiting general. Come on, Branson. How does a dirty general resolve your (legitimate) Easter Rising anger? And how are you ever going to get your pallid nurse down the aisle after that one? While we’re on the subject, why does it take a full two minutes and a game of Note Telephone for someone to get into the dining room and remove the Soup Urn of Terror? And if Carson thought that Branson was going to assassinate the general, then how did he know to immediately put the lockdown on the Soup Urn of Terror? Most important, was the brief unbuttoned shirt moment during Branson’s medical exam Downton ’s first attempt at partial male nudity, and did it make Branson any less irritating?

Joining Branson on the nuisance watchlist is Cousin Isobel, whose hospital-related tyranny is probably half the reason we’re willing to reconsider Edith, and the well-meaning but wildly nosy Mrs. Patmore. Daisy should probably also go on the list, but her brain is no longer of its own volition and does only what Mrs. Patmore tells it to do as the cook lurks in the back corner of literally every scene Daisy and William have together. “Oh, I’m just scrubbing my copper pan here because the light is best by the cupboard, but also, while I’m here, of course Daisy will marry you, William, no problem. This will all turn out great.” This will not turn out great. This has “death at the Somme” written all over it.

The other major downstairs concern is, of course, the stymied marriage plans of Saints Anna and Bates. We all love, or at least respect, Bates, and we are all sad that he’s been reduced to working in a pub and lurking behind trees in the village. (Yes, Bates’ lightning fast getaway from behind that tree is totally implausible--the guy can’t even serve a proper dinner, much less run through the park in record time--but allow Downton  its drama. This episode needed more.) Still, after yet another scene of earnest, against-all-odds lovey dovey promises, we wonder how long we can continue to be interested in Starcrossed Banna. Sweetness is hardly an exciting reason to root for a couple. And what’s the end game here--some steamy makeouts between the two most wholesome characters on Downton ? Anna can’t even believably sell her offer to take the mistress route, though that seems like a more promising storyline for everyone involved. Anna needs a little edge, and these two need more than stolen moments across a table.

Or maybe they need to learn how to make the best of those stolen table moments, as our preferred Will They or Won’t They Couple do on a weekly basis. Remember that first Mary-Matthew proposal in the dining room last season? Or last week’s unspoken asides during the Carlisle dinner? These are two people who know how to eye-fuck across a place setting, and that Downton  seems hellbent on preventing these opportunities is increasingly frustrating. Michelle Dockery’s abilities are wasted this week on a snooze of a Lavinia reveal--she does know Carlisle! They weren’t lovers! Politics!--and though Mary’s stiff-upper-lip struggle yields the best acting on the show, we’d all rather her agony be directed at Matthew. Especially since Lavina, with her tragic (recycled!) green velvet dress and pinched expression, is clearly never going to muster the backbone for a “Step off my man” showdown. Mary herself passes up such an opportunity this week, to the chagrin of Lady Rosamond and Mean Girls enthusiasts everywhere. It’s a smart move, probably, as falsely accusing Lavinia would alienate the hugely self-righteous Matthew, and it also reminds us that Mary is not the cold-hearted brat Edith would have everyone believe, but really--more Lavinia? And more smarmy Carlisle? A disappointed audience cues up the train scene once again.

Some stray observations: Ethel is headed down a bad, officer-related road, and Earl Grantham could do with an anger management class or two. Thomas seems to be the only character without a redemption arc, though frankly, his beef with Mr. Carson is the least of our worries--we have four love stories and a war to deal with here. That, probably, is a complaint that could be applied to the entirety of the episode, which focused too much on side characters and not enough on our most basic concerns: Banna’s happiness, Matthew and Mary’s longing, Sybil’s ability to emote enough to fall for Branson. But it’s a long war, and despite the hospital takeover and the loss of a few footmen, Downton hasn’t truly begun to feel the effects. The battlefield pairing of William and Matthew is more than a little troubling in that context, but at least our preferred heroes will be back in the spotlight. We hope. Everyone say a prayer like Mary, just in case.
 

And now, your weekly dose of Dowager Countess Wisdom:


"I don’t know many people who’d threaten me behind the laurels."

DC: "I’m going up to London to stay with Rosamond for a day or two, I think we’ll have Lavinia up for tea."
Mary: "You sound as if you’re going to gobble her up."
DC: "If only we could." [gleeful laughter]

On Rosamond’s new-money husband: "No, he was just cut and polished relatively recently."

DC: "If someone is going to manage things, let it be one of our creatures."
Isobel: "Why, are you planning to divide his loyalties?"
DC: "I wouldn’t say I was planning it."

"Really, Rosamond, there’s no need to be so gleeful. You sound like Robespierre, lopping off the head of Marie Antoinette." [gleeful laughter ]


« Last Edit: January 20, 2012, 10:58:10 am by Aloysius J. Gleek » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: January 19, 2012, 06:17:52 pm »




Uploaded by WatchinDownton on Jan 18, 2012

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« Reply #88 on: January 19, 2012, 06:23:54 pm »

John, someone posted about Downton slash on Facebook.

Thought you might be interested.   Cool


http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7412333/1/An_Evening_Stroll
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« Reply #89 on: January 19, 2012, 06:33:23 pm »




John, someone posted about Downton slash on Facebook.

Thought you might be interested.   Cool


http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7412333/1/An_Evening_Stroll


 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh

Thanks, Sonja!

 Grin

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« Reply #90 on: January 19, 2012, 06:36:19 pm »




Uploaded by PBS on Jan 18, 2012



Find answers to some of fans' most popular questions in this special panel with the cast of "Downton Abbey," filmed at a screening in New York City in Dec. 2011. http://www.pbs.org/downton

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« Reply #91 on: January 19, 2012, 06:49:26 pm »




 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh

Thanks, Sonja!

 Grin



You're welcome.

I hope it's enjoyable!  Grin
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« Reply #92 on: January 19, 2012, 07:44:29 pm »





Uploaded by PBS on Jan 18, 2012




Uploaded by PBS on Jan 18, 2012




Uploaded by PBS on Jan 18, 2012



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« Reply #93 on: January 19, 2012, 08:11:59 pm »





Uploaded by aube74 on Dec 28, 2011






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« Reply #94 on: January 20, 2012, 01:47:20 pm »


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/books/heiresses-of-whartons-era-in-fashion-on-her-150th-birthday.html?pagewanted=all



For Edith Wharton’s Birthday,
Hail Ultimate Social Climbers


By PAT RYAN
Published: January 19, 2012


Click photo for slideshow: Edith Wharton at 150

The Fifth Avenue Hotel, the center of the gilded age social scene


In dramas about the British aristocracy we Americans await with tingly pleasure the inevitable moment when the family learns that there is no more money to run the estate, and everyone must retrench or — worse  — the heir must get a job. Then, like the arrival of the cavalry in a western, all is saved — the footmen, the ancestral portraits, even the Georgian silver — by the imminent commingling of fortunes with an American kissing cousin who has daughters and dollars. The “Upstairs Downstairs” details long familiar from novels, movies and television shows, and now from the popular “Downton Abbey,” seem to render us spellbound.

The English actor and writer Julian Fellowes, who created the PBS mini-series “Downton Abbey” and wrote the screenplay for “Gosford Park,” told The Telegraph  that the idea for the series came from a book he was reading at the time, “To Marry an English Lord,” by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace. It was about “American girls who had come over to England in the late 19th century and married into the English aristocracy.” Mr. Fellowes added, “It occurred to me that while it must have been wonderful for these girls to begin with, what happened 25 years later when they were freezing in a house in Cheshire aching for Long Island?”

One answer comes from a native New Yorker who grew up among such heiresses: “These awful English marriages” tie you tight and “strangle you in a noose when you try to pull away from them,” Edith Wharton wrote in 1937 in her unfinished novel “The Buccaneers.” But she saw both sides of these Anglo-American unions. In an earlier novel, “The Custom of the Country,” she told the scathing tale of Undine Spragg, an American serial social usurper who blackmails her ex-husband to get enough money so her lover can bribe the pope to annul her previous marriage. Mr. Fellowes cited this Wharton book as another “Downton” influence (although Undine lands herself a French nobleman).

Edith Wharton, whose 150th birthday on Tuesday will be celebrated around New York — she was born on West 23rd Street — knew exactly what she was delineating. She was the ultimate insider, born into the New York upper crust, which she called “a group of bourgeois colonials” transformed into “a sort of social aristocracy.”

In “The Old Maid” (one of four “Old New York” novellas) Wharton wrote that in the 1850s New York was ruled by a few very affluent families. These “solidly welded blocks,” a mixture of sturdy English and Dutch genes, “had not come to the colonies to die for a creed but to live for a bank-account.”

In “To Marry an English Lord” Ms. Wallace and Ms. MacColl (who married an Englishman, though not a lord) write that in the 1860s “a whole new group of people began making money in industry — in armaments, in railroads, in preserved meats to feed the soldiers, in harvesters that freed workers from the fields. These enterprises made a lot of men very rich, very fast. And when they got rich, they came to New York.”

But when they arrived, the aspiring nouveau-riche folks were not accepted socially by the vieux-riche clans, so they looked eastward across the Atlantic to England, France and Italy, acquiring titles and lineages they felt would give them prestige, at least for the next generations. In Wharton’s “Age of Innocence” old Mrs. Manson Mingott, the must-be-obeyed matriarch of her line who “put the crowning touch to her audacities” by building a large cream-colored stone house in the wilderness near Central Park, “married two of her daughters to ‘foreigners’ (an Italian Marquis and an English banker).”

In Britain these Americans all seemed simply “rich,” with no qualifying adjectives. In an interview last year on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Mr. Fellowes estimated that 350 free-spirited heiresses made transcontinental marriages from 1880 to 1920. Hermione Lee, in her biography of Wharton, put the number who married into the British peerage at about 100, “several of them connected to Wharton.”

There are vestiges of these heiresses all over New York.

One of the most famous of the gilded girls was Jennie Jerome of Brooklyn, who became the mother of Winston Churchill. Her father, Leonard Jerome, a financier and avid horse-racing fan, took Jennie and her sisters, Clarita and Leonie, abroad, where Jennie soon crossed paths with Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill. They were engaged three days later, which caused some raised eyebrows, as did Winston’s birth about seven months after the marriage. Clarita married Moreton Frewen, son of Thomas Frewen, M.P., and Leonie married Sir John Leslie, an Irish baronet.

Then there were “the Marrying Wilsons,” as they became known in New York and Newport high society as a result of all their similarly advantageous alliances. The former Caroline Schermerhorn (the Mrs. Astor, a legendary founder of the elite “400”) saw her daughter married to Marshall Wilson. Marshall was the son of Richard T. Wilson, whose five children married British royalty and American millionaires with last names that included Goelet and Vanderbilt. Marshall’s niece, Mary Goelet, became the Duchess of Roxburghe, and at the time of her marriage in 1903 she was one of the wealthiest American heiresses of the pre-World War I era, rivaling Consuelo Vanderbilt, the only daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt, a New York railroad millionaire. Consuelo unhappily married the Duke of Marlborough in 1895, and her father’s millions helped bail out a leaky Blenheim Palace. The marriage ended in divorce and, later, annulment.

Consuelo’s namesake, Consuelo Iznaga, a Cuban-American heiress and dear friend of Consuelo Vanderbilt’s mother (the suffragist Alva Smith), married Viscount Mandeville, the future Duke of Manchester, in 1876. Consuelo Iznaga, an acquaintance of Wharton’s, was the basis for the character Conchita Closson in “The Buccaneers.” Poor Conchita ended “head-over-ears in debt,” in love with one man “while tied to another.” As for the real-life couple, the duke was “a feckless philanderer who squandered her money,” Ms. Lee writes in her Wharton biography.

The early Fifth Avenue Vanderbilt mansions are gone, but the reminders of the old world of Wharton and the heiresses include Grace Church, where the baby Edith Newbold Jones was christened and also where Consuelo Iznaga married her duke in waiting. Consuelo Vanderbilt married her own duke at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue (though not the current building), even though the Vanderbilts traditionally attended St. Bartholomew’s Church. As Ms. Wallace explained in an e-mail on Wednesday, in 1895 St. Bart’s “wasn’t big enough to hold the 50-piece orchestra and 60-piece choir that Consuelo’s mother, Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt, wanted, so the wedding reception took place at Sherry’s restaurant.” Ms. Wallace added, “This was really unusual — wedding receptions were normally at home, but Consuelo’s mother had divorced Consuelo’s father and didn’t have a big house at the time. (Can you imagine the scandal? Huge!)”

The fictional Lady Cora in “Downton Abbey” (played by Elizabeth McGovern), another monetarily well-endowed American, married the fictional Earl of Grantham. And as money is the root of all plots, the “Downton” estate itself (played by Highclere Castle, home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon) is also a character in the show. “They serve the house,” Mr. Fellowes says of his people.

The act of acquiring and spending (and owing), and the fine details of renovating and decorating, are integral too. Wharton, who was an expert on interior design and published “The Decoration of Houses” in 1898 with the architect Ogden Codman, denounced with a moral zest any room with overstuffed furniture, heavy curtains or Victorian whatnots. “If only I could do over my aunt’s drawing-room,” Lily Bart says in “The House of Mirth,” “I know I should be a better woman.”

The present Countess of Carnarvon has written about Highclere’s own money-for-title swap (though not American money this time) in “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.” An ancestor, Almina Wombwell, the countess says, was the illegitimate daughter of Alfred Charles de Rothschild and Marie Wombwell, née Boyer. In 1895, she writes, with a marriage contract from Rothschild granting the Earl of Carnarvon a “stupendous” payoff, “Almina went into St. Margaret’s the illegitimate daughter of a Jewish banker and his French kept woman,” but she emerged the fifth Countess of Carnarvon.

Mr. Fellowes points out that “in Europe, to get an heiress, you need everyone else in the family to die,” making European heiresses rare, but American heiresses proliferated because they could be created whenever a rich person divided his wealth among the children.

Wharton’s family, though it had solid social credentials — Edith was a cousin to Mrs. Astor — were merely comfortably off, part of a circle of what the author Louis Auchincloss, another Wharton biographer, termed “haute bourgeoisie.”

“Downton Abbey” is growing strong in its second season on PBS’s “Masterpiece” and won a Golden Globe on Sunday for best mini-series. But Lady Cora should watch her step. When Wharton’s Annabel, one of the buccaneers, asserted herself and said, “I think I’m tired of trying to be English,” the dowager Duchess of Tintagel replied:

“Trying to be? But you are English. When you became my son’s wife you acquired his nationality. Nothing can change that now.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”
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« Reply #95 on: January 20, 2012, 04:24:08 pm »

The preceding reminded me of another American who doesn't quite fit the pattern but who made her fortune and mark in England and was nevertheless quite a character: Miss Nancy Langhorne of Danville, Virginia, later the Rt. Hon. Viscountess Astor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Astor,_Viscountess_Astor
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« Reply #96 on: January 20, 2012, 10:40:57 pm »


   That was a wonderful article, Jeff.  I read it and enjoyed it tremendously.  I think it shows the kinds of attitude that we are fighting in
this day and time also.  The  very rich are so disconnected from the reality of life, that they don't even get, the truth of normal people.  She
was very opinionated, its true.  I like opinionated women.  I don't like her at all.  She seemed to be on the wrong side of nearly every issue. 

   Here is the you tube linc that they posted there.  It was against her, by the men she had called the "D Day Dodgers."  Meanwhile they were fighting and dying in Italy.  Trying to free that country from the Nazis and its influences.


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« Reply #97 on: January 20, 2012, 11:24:59 pm »

Quote
Almina Wombwell

What a wonderful name!  Cheesy
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« Reply #98 on: January 22, 2012, 02:56:21 pm »




Quote
Almina Wombwell


What a wonderful name!  Cheesy



Now that's  Dickensian!    laugh


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« Reply #99 on: January 22, 2012, 03:17:27 pm »



Related:

Remember, the Dowager Countess was a Victorian!
(And, of couse, Lady Cora was an American!)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/08/chillax-emma-thompson-slang-english-language


Racy Yankee slang has
long invaded our language

Even those stuffy Victorians in the 'golden age'
enjoyed the odd American skedaddle


By Bob Nicholson

guardian.co.uk
Fri 8 Oct 2010 16.00 BST




As Belinda Webb reminds us, Britain's writers have been playing with slang for centuries. In the process, they've helped to add thousands of new words to our vocabulary. However, I doubt this particular history lesson will do much to calm our defenders of the Queen's English. They're not just upset that our language is changing – they're worried about the people who might be in the driving seat.

The finger of blame is pointed squarely across the Atlantic. It's one thing to borrow words from the Bard, but another thing entirely to take language lessons from Uncle Sam. Last July, the Daily Mail  columnist Matthew Engel received a huge response from his readers after declaring war on the "tidal wave of mindless Americanisms" which apparently flood Britain through imported TV shows, rap music, and the internet.

Whenever these debates flare up, anxious commentators usually make reference to a supposed golden age when our language wasn't threatened by America. Sometimes they look to their own childhood, sometimes they dig back to Chaucer. Usually, they settle on the Victorian period. Here was a time when Britain ruled the world and America knew its place! Surely our Victorian ancestors would never have stood for the kind of linguistic "corruptions" that seem to blight twenty first century Britain? This fits rather reassuringly into our image of the Victorians – stuffy, repressed, self-assured, pedantic, and terribly, terribly British.

I'm not so sure about this argument. Recently, I've been using digitised newspaper archives to research the ways in which nineteenth-century journalists and their readers reacted to American slang. The results have been surprising.

American words and phrases appeared regularly in Victorian newspapers. During the second half of the nineteenth century, most popular papers in Britain got a significant percentage of their content from across the Atlantic. Imported American articles, stories, and jokes were everywhere. As a result, the American language became part of everyday life long before the arrival of Hollywood.

Some Victorians railed against the impurities of American English, but many seem to have enjoyed a taste of "racy Yankee slang." When Mark Twain performed in Britain in 1873, even the most conservative reviewers picked out his "delicious Californian dialect" as one of the highlights of the show.

Most "Americanisms" coined in this period haven't stood the test of time. When a woman disposes of an unwanted admirer we no longer say that she has "given him the mitten." We still call experienced travellers "globetrotters", but tend to say they've "bought the T-shirt" rather than "seen the elephant." We prefer more elegant metaphors for a cemetery than a 'bone-pit'. Our dentists might object if we called them "tooth carpenters". And if a teenager today told you they'd been "shot in the neck" you might ring for an ambulance rather than ask what they'd had to drink the previous night.

Lots, however, have become part of our everyday speech. "I guess", "I reckon", "keep your eyes peeled", "it was a real eye-opener", "easy as falling off a log", "to go the whole hog", "to get the hang of", "struck oil", "lame duck", "face the music", "high falutin", "cocktail", and "to pull the wool over ones eyes" - all made the leap into British usage during the Victorian period. And they've stayed there ever since.

Some were phenomenally successful. The word "skedaddle" inspired a national craze during the 1860s. It became "the newest thing in slang" and circulated everywhere from fashionable London to northern pit villages. The gentleman who first discovered the word in his morning paper and then started spreading it became a minor celebrity. Racehorses and boats were renamed, children's games were re-branded, it was used in adverts for rocking chairs, and a dance called the "Skedaddle Breakdown" was performed each night at the Haymarket Theatre. After a few years, it even cropped up in parliament.

None have had as big an impact as the word "OK". The origins of the phrase continue to puzzle lexicographers, but some are convinced that it was part of a craze for comical initials in American newspapers. N.G was used in place of "no-good". S.P. meant that something was "small potatoes". And a debtor who disappeared overnight was said to have G.T.T. ("Gone to Texas)" O.K. stood for "oll korrect", a deliberately misspelled version of "all correct". It made it big in America during the 1840s and soon made the leap across the Atlantic. It's hard now to imagine how we could live without it.

This Victorian fascination with American slang is worth remembering. It reminds us that so much of what we think of as standard English started off as an exotic and subversive import. I suspect that many defenders of the Queen's English would be horrified to learn just how much of their own vocabulary originated in an American saloon.

When 21st century teenagers use the latest slang from America, they're not squandering a great cultural inheritance – they're just doing what millions of Victorians did before them. And history tells us that we can't stop them, even if we wanted to. So perhaps we shouldn't worry too much about it - it's just continuing a great British tradition.

Innit?

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« Reply #100 on: January 24, 2012, 04:22:32 pm »


Just because!
 Grin




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« Reply #101 on: January 24, 2012, 04:32:25 pm »

Quote
"Remember your great aunt Roberta.  She loaded the guns at Lucknow."

I wonder how many Americans understood that reference?  Cool

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« Reply #102 on: January 27, 2012, 10:20:15 am »

So Wednesday evening after work I had dinner with a coworker and her husband. My coworker began to speak of Downton Abbey, and she said something about there being three daughters and no son and the estate is entailed.

And I said, "Didn't Jane Austen do that plot two hundred years ago?"

 Grin
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« Reply #103 on: January 27, 2012, 02:15:53 pm »

So Wednesday evening after work I had dinner with a coworker and her husband. My coworker began to speak of Downton Abbey, and she said something about there being three daughters and no son and the estate is entailed.

And I said, "Didn't Jane Austen do that plot two hundred years ago?"

 Grin

Silly Jeff, Jane Austen wrote about FIVE daughters and no son and the estate was entailed.  Not the same at all!  Grin  Grin
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« Reply #104 on: January 27, 2012, 02:27:19 pm »

Silly Jeff, Jane Austen wrote about FIVE daughters and no son and the estate was entailed.  Not the same at all!  Grin  Grin

 Grin
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« Reply #105 on: February 17, 2012, 04:58:53 pm »



http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/print-out-vultures-downton-abbey-paper-dolls.html?mid=380193&rid=422524542


Print Out Vulture’s
Downton Abbey
Paper Dolls

By Kyle Hilton
Today at 9:01 AM















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« Reply #106 on: February 17, 2012, 09:08:31 pm »

Silly Jeff, Jane Austen wrote about FIVE daughters and no son and the estate was entailed.  Not the same at all!  Grin  Grin


You are so right Meryl..    laugh   laugh
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« Reply #107 on: February 20, 2012, 08:53:55 pm »





http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/tv_club/features/2012/downton_abbey_season_2/week_7/the_downton_finale_sir_richard_vs_matthew_.html


Downton Abbey,
Season 2

What kind of monster prefers Sir Richard to Matthew?

From: Seth Stevenson
Posted Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, at 10:45 PM ET





To: June Thomas and Dan Kois

Fellow journeyers on Abbey road,


Best Downton  episode ever? I say indubitably yes. From the moment a special new title sequence tracked the arrival of that magnificent Christmas tree, I was hooked. And the snowy kiss that capped it off was everything I'd hoped for.

I didn't realize that British Christmas specials are allowed to actually advance plot arcs. When American TV takes time out for a holiday episode, it's often a fun little diversion that unfolds in a vacuum, outside the bounds of the show's main narrative. Not at all the case here! Lots of important stuff happened!

For a moment, it appeared that Lady Mary might be coming to America. I will admit that I had visions of running into her on the streets of New York late some night as she took a break from filming. We'd stroll past the velvet rope at a club (she's an aristocrat, after all). I'd bribe the DJ to drop the needle on Zip! Goes a Million. And as we Dougied together I'd assure her that the unfortunate incident with Mr. Pamuk was ancient history and of no concern to me.

Shattering my fantasies, but tingling my soap-opera pleasure receptors, it appears that Mary will remain at Downton after all. Not only that, she shall at last be wed to cousin Matthew. Which makes everyone happy except for Slate editor David Plotz, who sent this email to June, Dan, and me last week: "Are we honestly supposed to prefer Matthew to Sir Richard? Richard is smart, tough, funny, and a much better match for Mary."

Hogwash, Plotz. Only a man with so much excess bile that he hates pandas (pandas !) could be in favor of sentencing Mary to lifetime imprisonment with evil Sir Dick. Yes, David, I'm sure you empathize with the pressures of running a major media entity, constantly stifling negative stories about your friends so as to later blackmail them. But Sir Richard is terminally bitter, increasingly abusive, and—worst of all—he simply has zero romantic chemistry with Lady Mary. He doesn't light the flame on her Christmas pudding, as it were. After Sir Richard said he doubted he'd see the Crawleys again, the dowager countess spoke for everyone but David Plotz when she asked, "Do you promise?”

Besides fulfilling the wildest dreams of Mattharyans everywhere, the Downton finale offered other major developments. Sybil is now married and pregnant, with Lord Grantham grumbling that he's "to have a Fenian grandchild." I notice that, like Lord Grantham himself, the show did not deign to attend Lady Sybil's wedding. Far too downscale an affair for Julian Fellowes to bother with, I imagine.

Lady Edith is in hot pursuit of the enfeebled Sir Anthony. I have finally come around on poor, trod-upon Edith. My heart broke a little when she vowed to continue her chase by saying, "If you think I'm going to give up on somebody who calls me lovely ..." I'll call you lovely, Edith. You can drive me around Yorkshire in an open-top motorcar any time you like.
 
And of course Mr. Bates' march to martyrdom continued apace. When will the poor fellow stop enduring punishments? It's like The Passion of the Christ in very slow motion, with a wool topcoat for the crown of thorns. Also: It seems the Crawleys choose their lawyers just about well as they choose their doctors. What's the 1920 version of Yelp?

So, Dan and June, are you satisfied with that ending? Will it tide you over until Season 3 and the debut of ... drumroll ... Shirley MacLaine as Lady Cora's American mother? There are few things in life I'm looking forward to more than her scenes with the dowager countess.
 
It's to crack your nuts,

Seth
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« Reply #108 on: February 20, 2012, 09:16:59 pm »










.




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« Reply #109 on: February 20, 2012, 09:55:31 pm »



sybil & branson, part 1:
This video contains content from NBC Universal,
who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

For a very  short while,
before Parts 2 and 3 are also blocked:

Uploaded by ilestpossible on Nov 9, 2011




Uploaded by ilestpossible on Nov 9, 2011


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« Reply #110 on: February 21, 2012, 06:16:49 pm »

I was mystified when Lord Grantham said they were going to have a Finian grandson, and found out that the mid-19th century Finians were the Catholics in favor of Irish independence. They were named after a mythical Celtic tribe of young men who lived apart from society and were called up in case of war to fight. They were led by the Celtic warrior Finn and were called the Finnae. Sound like interesting people!!
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« Reply #111 on: February 21, 2012, 06:55:42 pm »

I have seen Finn several times.

He's called Jätten Finn (Finn the Giant) and is hugging a stone pillar in the cathedral in Lund, the next town over from where I live.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin_(troll)


ETA: I can't get the link to work properly. You hav to click on the word 'Fin(troll)' in the first line.
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« Reply #112 on: February 21, 2012, 07:03:15 pm »



I was mystified when Lord Grantham said they were going to have a Finian grandson, and found out that the mid-19th century Finians were the Catholics in favor of Irish independence. They were named after a mythical Celtic tribe of young men who lived apart from society and were called up in case of war to fight. They were led by the Celtic warrior Finn and were called the Finnae. Sound like interesting people!!


Lee, it's spelled Fenian--and, believe me, Lord Grantham was using the term, hmm, shall we say--ironically  derogatorily??   Roll Eyes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian_Brotherhood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian_raids

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenian_dynamite_campaign

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fenian






Please note: the smoking fuse in the barrel of explosives in the cartoon from
the famous magazine Punch   is used with a very old fashioned, very stereotypically
racist Irish (tobacco) pipe, with the Fenian's many, many, many  children
all around--Oi!




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« Reply #113 on: February 21, 2012, 07:07:59 pm »




I have seen Finn several times.

He's called Jätten Finn (Finn the Giant) and is hugging a stone pillar in the cathedral in Lund, the next town over from where I live.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin_(troll)

ETA: I can't get the link to work properly. You hav to click on the word 'Fin(troll)' in the first line.


Hi, Sonja--

Jätten Finn sounds very interesting, but (and you MUST take my word for it) Lord Grantham was NOT thinking about Finn the Giant--nor the leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow!

 Wink Smiley


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« Reply #114 on: February 21, 2012, 07:22:43 pm »




Hi, Sonja--

Jätten Finn sounds very interesting, but (and you MUST take my word for it) Lord Grantham was NOT thinking about Finn the Giant--nor the leprechaun in Finian's Rainbow!

 Wink Smiley




Ok, I take your word for it, John!  Grin


How could I do anything else, since I've neve seen Downton Abbey....?   Roll Eyes Cheesy
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« Reply #115 on: February 21, 2012, 07:48:08 pm »



Ok, I take your word for it, John!  Grin


How could I do anything else, since I've never seen Downton Abbey....?   Roll Eyes Cheesy


Oh, there are a lot of Fins around--


There's Finn McCool (spelled Fionn mac Cumhaill, but pronounced Finn McCool) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fionn_mac_Cumhaill , and there's

Fingal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingal's_Cave

and there are even Finns who are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish-speaking_Finns

but Downton Abbey's Lord Grantham meant something ENTIRELY different!   laugh


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« Reply #116 on: February 22, 2012, 08:41:28 am »



Collect Them All!


http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2012/02/downton-abbey-trading-cards-finale-christmas-special#slide=1



Exclusive! Downton Abbey
Trading Cards for Season 2’s Finale


By Sarah Ball
5:00 PM, February 17 2012


After we posted these exceedingly clever Downton Abbey  Valentines last week, designed by Dallas-based comic artist Chad Thomas, we partnered up with Chad for a sporting way to end Season Two: trading cards! Click to view, and check back Monday for a finale recap. (To see all of our recaps of Season 2, from the premiere through Episode 6, go here .)






       


     





     





     








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« Reply #117 on: February 22, 2012, 02:16:13 pm »


The Swedish dialect spoken by Swedish Finns is the most beautiful to listen to, imo. It has a very distinct ring to it.

Tove Jansson, who wrote the books about the Moomin trolls, was from Finland. Her books have to be read in that specific dialect in order to sound right.

To a Swede, a Moomin who doesn't speak Finnish Swedish, is no real Moomin!  Grin
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« Reply #118 on: February 22, 2012, 02:19:26 pm »

Maybe this can help satisfy your Downton Abbey obsession, John?

 Grin laugh Wink

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« Reply #119 on: February 22, 2012, 05:45:53 pm »



Maybe this can help satisfy your Downton Abbey obsession, John?

 Grin laugh Wink





OH NOES!!!

ITZ WURLD WAHR EYE!!



 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh

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« Reply #120 on: February 28, 2012, 04:12:15 pm »

Guess what? All this talk about Downton Abbey here and elsewhere on the net had me curious and I bought the first season on DVD (doesn't run on TV here).

We've seen the first four episodes so far. Well, it's a soap opera, no way around it. But a good one.
They had me hooked in episode three, when they finished off the Turkish ambassador. I didn't see that one coming! laugh
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« Reply #121 on: February 29, 2012, 12:22:44 am »

Glad you are enjoying it!
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« Reply #122 on: May 25, 2012, 02:56:01 am »



http://www.vulture.com/2012/05/jimmy-fallons-downton-abbey-parody-is-still-genius.html

Jimmy Fallon's
Downton Abbey  Parody
Is Still Genius

By Andre Tartar
Today at 2:06 AM



Tonight the brilliant minds over at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon  aired the second of their award-deserving 'Downton Sixbey' shorts — and we thought we'd have to wait until September for our Downton fix! A.D. Miles' scowling Dowager Countess once again did Dame Maggie Smith proud. Butler Higgins got in his "upstairs people" versus "downstairs people" rant and ran the clock by dragging around his iron foot some more. Fred Armisen 's Lady Edith was as hauntingly intense as ever—plus DRUMS! And best of all, the future Lord "Quite Bushy" Questlove brought his mother to sup: the regal Lady "Bitch Please" Whoopi. Ah, 'Downton Sixbey'! You really are the faux-English drama we were craving.


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« Reply #123 on: May 25, 2012, 03:05:50 am »



And an earlier 'episode'...

Published on Apr 12, 2012 by latenight


Please note: not 'Lady Edith', it's Lady He -dith (and yes, Fred Armisen is genius).



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« Reply #124 on: May 25, 2012, 12:46:12 pm »


What a hoot! Genius is right, these parodies are pure genius.  laugh
I like them more than the original (but of course you have to know the original to get it).

Quote
Tonight the brilliant minds over at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon  aired the second of their award-deserving 'Downton Sixbey' shorts — and we thought we'd have to wait until September for our Downton fix! A.D. Miles' scowling Dowager Countess once again did Dame Maggie Smith proud. Butler Higgins got in his "upstairs people" versus "downstairs people" rant and ran the clock by dragging around his iron foot some more. Fred Armisen 's Lady Edith was as hauntingly intense as ever—plus DRUMS! And best of all, the future Lord "Quite Bushy" Questlove brought his mother to sup: the regal Lady "Bitch Please" Whoopi. Ah, 'Downton Sixbey'! You really are the faux-English drama we were craving.



Yes, yes and yes to everything.  Smiley

Thanks for sharing, John. I wouldn't even know it existed otherwise.
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« Reply #125 on: May 25, 2012, 05:17:53 pm »

         i seem to remember the name the first time was   DOWNTON 6 B.eey
because they were using studio 6 B 

   I have been watching them.  I think they are hilarious.  i don't think they are better, than the original, but they are great.

I especially liked the looks that his wife (Brooke Shields) gave everyone at the most shocking happenings.  She was really funny too.
There really is nothing better, than a great parody.
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« Reply #126 on: June 19, 2012, 09:28:44 pm »

Just (finally) watched Downton Abbey Season 1 DVD (from my library, as I don't have cable or broadcast TV), and remembered I had seen a thread here on BM long ago talking all about Julian Fellowes's Downton Abbey.  Spent the last 20 minutes searching every way to Sunday trying to find the old thread when it finally occurred to me to look at this thread about the parody, and saw that it was actually the original thread, but the title had been changed.  Very frustrating when titles of threads get changed mid-stream, no offense to whoever did it.  Just don't seem right...
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« Reply #127 on: July 08, 2012, 11:32:24 pm »

Spike TV's "Downton Abbey" critique.  Funny!  Grin

http://vimeo.com/36265794
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« Reply #128 on: July 09, 2012, 06:17:38 am »







Spike TV's "Downton Abbey" critique.  Funny!  Grin

http://vimeo.com/36265794




"--about a buncha honkies who live in a church (or a museum) without wifi, with three daughters: Hot, Way Hot, and the other one."


 laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh


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« Reply #129 on: July 27, 2012, 12:44:48 am »


http://www.vulture.com/2012/07/bane-mask-makes-any-villain-look-scarier.html?imw=Y


See How a Bane Mask
Makes Any Villain Look Scarier

By Marisa Woocher
7/25/12 at 12:45 PM



O’Brien, Downton Abbey

 laugh laugh laugh

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« Reply #130 on: July 27, 2012, 01:30:55 am »

http://www.vulture.com/2012/07/bane-mask-makes-any-villain-look-scarier.html?imw=Y


See How a Bane Mask
Makes Any Villain Look Scarier

By Marisa Woocher
7/25/12 at 12:45 PM



O’Brien, Downton Abbey

 laugh laugh laugh


It works!  Shocked  Grin
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« Reply #131 on: August 07, 2012, 07:24:52 am »

Just finished Downton Season 2 on DVD from my local library.  My favorite quotes from this season:

- With him dead, there's no proof he was the father.
- Then I'm ruined.
- You were ruined already, my girl, so don't let's go overboard.

~~~
- Will you be happy?  Really?
- I have no right to be unhappy, which is almost the same.
- Almost....  Not quite.

~~~
And my fave -- a bit of advice from father to eldest daughter:

Find a cowboy in the middle West, and bring him back to shake us up a bit.

 Grin  Grin  Grin
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« Reply #132 on: August 15, 2012, 03:26:20 pm »



Bootlegged
Downton Abbey  Season-Three
trailer!
Click and scroll and click for the bootleg!



« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 06:08:15 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek » Logged

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« Reply #133 on: August 15, 2012, 08:20:49 pm »

Thanks, John!  Looks good!  Cool
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« Reply #134 on: September 05, 2012, 11:08:37 pm »





Published on Sep 5, 2012 by ITV1

www.itv.com/downtonabbey


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« Reply #135 on: September 06, 2012, 05:18:43 am »

As I understand it, Season 3 starts over here in the U.K. (I'm currently visiting Belfast) this month, but us Americans have to wait until January 6, 2013 for it to begin.

 Angry
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« Reply #136 on: September 06, 2012, 02:38:37 pm »

I found this while trying to discover when it will screen in NZ

A sneak peek at the third season of Downton Abbey reveals fireworks will fly between matriarchs played by Maggie Smith and newcomer Shirley MacLaine.

The aristocratic Crawley family endures a financial crisis. And, despite the engagement of Matthew and Mary at the end of last season, all is not well - gasp! - between the pair played by Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery.

TV network PBS showed brief clips from next season to the Television Critics Association before a panel discussion with cast members and producers of the international hit. They took a break from taping in London to meet reporters in Beverly Hills.

Their visit followed a strong showing by Downton Abbey in Thursday's Emmy nominations with 16 bids, including best drama series.

In one scene shared by PBS, Hugh Bonneville's Robert Crawley, also known as Lord Grantham, is shown confessing to his wealthy American wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) about an investment gone wrong.

"Has some of my fortune been lost?" she asks.
 "Almost all," he replies, tearfully.

Matthew and Mary, who travelled a rocky road to what looked like blissful marriage, are shown in an angry confrontation in which she accuses him of disloyalty to the family.

Tart dialogue involving MacLaine's Martha and Smith's Violet, the dowager countess, also looks to be a hallmark of season three. It begins airing in September in the UK and next January on PBS.

"When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English," Violet says of Martha.

"But isn't she American?" asks a puzzled Matthew.

"Exactly," Violet replies.

Series creator Julian Fellowes said the next season will encompass about two years at the start of the 1920s. Among the plot points to be resolved: What happens to John Bates, Lord Grantham's valet who was convicted last season of murdering his wife and barely escaped the gallows.

Bonneville made his support for his loyal servant clear. At the panel's conclusion, the actor jumped up, turned his back to the room while opening his jacket and dress shirt, and then wheeled around to reveal the T-shirt he wore underneath: "Free Bates," it read.

"T-shirts are available in the foyer," Brendan Coyle, who plays Bates, chimed in dryly.

MacLaine also proved a showstopper. The actress, who has said she believes in reincarnation, was asked if she and Smith had met before.

"Well, we were lovers in another life," she said, smiling. Then she shared Smith's recollection of their meeting some 40 years ago backstage at the Oscars, near a catering table, after MacLaine failed to take home a trophy.

"Do you know what you did, dear?" Smith reminded her. "You tucked right into that chocolate cake and said, '(Expletive), I don't care if I'm thin ever again."'

Also on hand for the panel were Dockery, McGovern, Joanne Froggatt and executive producers Gareth Neame and Rebecca Eaton. Stevens was among the cast members kept in London by filming, which continues through August.

Downton Abbey's third season is due to screen in the UK in September. Seasons one and two screened on Prime in New Zealand.
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« Reply #137 on: October 13, 2012, 05:50:16 am »

Season 3 is starting here in NZ next Thursday. Have just watched a repeat of the Christmas program. Smiley
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« Reply #138 on: December 06, 2012, 05:10:33 am »

Have just finished watching the last episode of season 3 here in NZ.  Fairly clear there will be no series 4. So sad, I have enjoyed every moment of it.
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« Reply #139 on: December 06, 2012, 11:16:51 am »

They've already announced there'll be a Season 4.  Must go find link.  Please don't give away any spoilers.
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« Reply #140 on: December 06, 2012, 11:21:53 am »


http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/11/25/downton-abbey-renewed-dan-stevens/

Nov 25 2012
06:34 PM ET







'Downton Abbey' renewed for fourth season

by James Hibberd

 

British broadcaster ITV announced that cross-continental hit Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season.
 
Season three of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama hasn’t yet premiered in the United States, but has aired in the UK (and garnered its best ratings yet). PBS will debut season three on Jan. 6. Season four will start shooting in February and will bow in the UK in the fall.
 
According to ITV, the fourth season will continue the story of the Crawley family and their servants in the early 1920s, with feature-length episodes for the premiere and finale. “Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance,” the network promised in a release.
 
The Daily Mail is reporting that actor Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, is not returning to the show for a fourth round. This is not confirmed by ITV, however. The report cites an anonymous source: “He will probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it.” The actor is currently appearing on Broadway and was recently quoted as saying he might not return to the show. A spokesperson for ITV gave this non-denial on the matter: ” We do not discuss cast contracts nor do we discuss future storylines.”
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« Reply #141 on: December 06, 2012, 02:16:36 pm »

Good to know. Without giving anything away,everything seemed finalised by the end. They will have to create new sub stories.  Actually I have fallen in love with Dan Stevens  Cheesy so hope he returns and stays.
I would like to discuss the gay valet but will need to leave it until you have all seen it. I nearly did not watch anymore after the very first episode when the villain was gay. It is unusual for NZ to see shows before most of the rest of the world, we are usually last. Downton series 3 will not air in Australia until next year so I cannot discuss it with my sister. Sad
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« Reply #142 on: January 07, 2013, 12:12:09 pm »

My instant review of the Series 3 premiere: Matthew and Mary: radiant! Mr. Bates: heroic! The Earl: excellent as a man caught between eras. Daisy and Mrs. Patmore: wonderful! Getting tired of Edith and Sir Anthony's tepid relationship and the clash between Martha and Violet was anticlimactic. Tom and Sybil's arrival from Ireland shakes things up well. The development of the financial crisis was rushed, IMO, and depressing. Downstairs is definitely more interesting than upstairs.
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« Reply #143 on: January 07, 2013, 04:00:39 pm »

Love Downton,we are quite a bit ahead here,so I will keep my lips sealed.
 Anna has recently got married in real life.My bosses wife is best friends with her from University days,so they got an invite to the week-end long bash,in Oxfordshire. Saw some pics and it looked amazing,she is a very pretty girl.
Seemed so odd to see Hugh Bonneville et al all there in modern day garb.
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« Reply #144 on: January 14, 2013, 12:12:48 pm »

Hi friend, so good to see you here! Thanks for not spilling the plot beans. As I watch DA, I keep thinking that Anna looks so much like Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films.
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« Reply #145 on: January 14, 2013, 02:48:08 pm »

Hi friend, so good to see you here! Thanks for not spilling the plot beans. As I watch DA, I keep thinking that Anna looks so much like Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films.

There is a character in the Harry Potter movies called Luna Lovegood?  Huh?

 laugh
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« Reply #146 on: January 14, 2013, 03:42:40 pm »

I have not been watching Downton Abbey, in fact, I have yet to see Moonlighting.
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« Reply #147 on: January 14, 2013, 10:02:37 pm »

There is a character in the Harry Potter movies called Luna Lovegood?  Huh?

 laugh
"She had straggly, waist-length, dirty blonde hair, very pale eyebrows, and protuberant eyes that gave her a permanently surprised look. Harry knew at once why Neville had chosen to pass this compartment by. The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down."

Luna


Anna
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« Reply #148 on: February 27, 2013, 10:37:12 am »

Downton fans, I learned something from this morning's newspaper that you all might find interesting.

Theo James, the Adonis who stars in the new show Golden Boy, played the Turkish diplomat who died while in bed with Lady Mary.

 laugh
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« Reply #149 on: February 27, 2013, 11:14:25 am »

Downton fans, I learned something from this morning's newspaper that you all might find interesting.

Theo James, the Adonis who stars in the new show Golden Boy, played the Turkish diplomat who died while in bed with Lady Mary.

 laugh



We fans know him as Mr. Pamuk.


I like him better with short hair.
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« Reply #150 on: February 27, 2013, 11:49:07 am »

I am in Hanoi, Vietnam, and saw Downton Abby advertised for Monday night......when I left Australia we were only 3 episodes into the new series 3........anyway, turned it on here (in Hanoi) and wasn't quite sure where I was.....Obviously it is way ahead of Australia as so much seems to have happened.....I wont give any spoilers away, but the episode I just saw here was the one with the cricket match.......

Fiona or Brian, as you have seen all of series 3....can you give me some idea of whereabouts in series 3, I am now.....
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« Reply #151 on: February 27, 2013, 12:01:40 pm »



We fans know him as Mr. Pamuk.


I like him better with short hair.
How odd. Here at work I can see the picture of him with the horse, but not the second picture.  Huh?  Never mind.

His comment re: his role in Downton: "But I mean, I'm onscreen for about 20 minutes, and I still get people going, 'Mr. Pamuk!'"
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« Reply #152 on: February 27, 2013, 12:15:40 pm »

Day-um, I thought he was smokin' as Mr. Pamuk, but geez louise, in real life, that boy's ON FIRE!   Shocked
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« Reply #153 on: February 27, 2013, 12:34:55 pm »

Yes, Mr. Pamuk was made up rather severely.  Even though he had brief screen time, his character was pivotal to season one, and so his name was mentioned long after he kicked it. 

I love the Dowager Countess's reaction:  something like, leave it to a foreigner--an Englishman would never dream of dying in someone else's house.
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« Reply #154 on: February 27, 2013, 01:25:43 pm »

Day-um, I thought he was smokin' as Mr. Pamuk, but geez louise, in real life, that boy's ON FIRE!   Shocked

That's why I checked out his new series, Golden Boy.

(O.M.G., those lips!  Roll Eyes )
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« Reply #155 on: February 27, 2013, 02:45:30 pm »

I am in Hanoi, Vietnam, and saw Downton Abby advertised for Monday night......when I left Australia we were only 3 episodes into the new series 3........anyway, turned it on here (in Hanoi) and wasn't quite sure where I was.....Obviously it is way ahead of Australia as so much seems to have happened.....I wont give any spoilers away, but the episode I just saw here was the one with the cricket match.......

Fiona or Brian, as you have seen all of series 3....can you give me some idea of whereabouts in series 3, I am now.....

Katie, you're now very close to the end of series three. There's just two hours left which, as it was shown on Christmas Day in England, was known there as the "Christmas Special". Most of it takes place on the family's summer visit to Scotland before returning to Downton for a truly shocking conclusion.
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« Reply #156 on: February 27, 2013, 02:53:48 pm »

I am in Hanoi, Vietnam, and saw Downton Abby advertised for Monday night......when I left Australia we were only 3 episodes into the new series 3........anyway, turned it on here (in Hanoi) and wasn't quite sure where I was.....Obviously it is way ahead of Australia as so much seems to have happened.....I wont give any spoilers away, but the episode I just saw here was the one with the cricket match.......

Fiona or Brian, as you have seen all of series 3....can you give me some idea of whereabouts in series 3, I am now.....
I had to go to Wikipedia, it is so long ago. I am afraid you saw the last episode , number 8 of season 3 except for the Christmas Special. I am not sure where Australia is up to at the moment. I cannot say too much but the Christmas special has really ruined it all for me, it has turned into a soap.
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« Reply #157 on: February 27, 2013, 08:04:40 pm »

How odd. Here at work I can see the picture of him with the horse, but not the second picture.  Huh?  Never mind.

Humph. I can't see the second pic here at home, either.  Angry
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« Reply #158 on: February 27, 2013, 08:10:31 pm »

Humph. I can't see the second pic here at home, either.  Angry

Poor Jeff.  Here's another for you:

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« Reply #159 on: February 27, 2013, 08:52:32 pm »

Look at that neck!



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« Reply #160 on: February 27, 2013, 11:12:18 pm »

Poor Jeff.  Here's another for you:


Thanks. That one shows.  Grin

Actually, I've already done a Google Images search for him. I just haven't downloaded any pics yet.  Grin  

There are some lovely photos of him in a bathtub floating around on the Internet.  Grin

ETA: Perhaps for some bizarre computer-related reason you have to be on line for me to see that second pic. I can see it now, while you are on the site.
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« Reply #161 on: February 28, 2013, 03:35:59 am »

I had to go to Wikipedia, it is so long ago. I am afraid you saw the last episode , number 8 of season 3 except for the Christmas Special. I am not sure where Australia is up to at the moment. I cannot say too much but the Christmas special has really ruined it all for me, it has turned into a soap.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Shocked

Katie, you're now very close to the end of series three. There's just two hours left which, as it was shown on Christmas Day in England, was known there as the "Christmas Special". Most of it takes place on the family's summer visit to Scotland before returning to Downton for a truly shocking conclusion.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  Cry

I cant believe it.........not the END.....oh gees.......how come they only make 8 bloody episodes..... Huh?

Oh well, hope they have the 2 hour "Christmas Show" on next week......Cant believe I've missed the whole dam series.....
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« Reply #162 on: February 28, 2013, 03:38:45 am »

Day-um, I thought he was smokin' as Mr. Pamuk, but geez louise, in real life, that boy's ON FIRE!   Shocked

Totally agree......HOT HOT HOT........
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« Reply #163 on: March 03, 2013, 11:08:21 pm »

I think I'm the only person on the planet that doesn't watch.  lol
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« Reply #164 on: March 04, 2013, 08:13:29 am »

Potential spoiler alert if you haven't watched all of Season 3 yet:

~~~




"Downton Abbey" shocker: Another key character departs
By Tim Kenneally | Reuters – 15 hrs ago



LOS ANGELES (TheWrap) - Sarah O'Brien has left the Abbey. Siobahn Finneran, who's played conniving maid O'Brien throughout "Downton Abbey's" three-season run, won't be returning for the upcoming fourth season of the British hit.

Finneran told the Press Association that she's done with the character.

 "I'm not doing any more," Finneran, who'll be appearing in the second season of the BBC1 offering "The Syndicate" -- said. "O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being -- that was great to play."

 The news will no doubt shake "Downton" fans, who have already had to contend with the shocking deaths of two key characters in recent months.

Matthew Crawley was knocked off in the "Downton Abbey" Christmas special, leading to the departure of cast member Dan Stevens.

 That death was followed
(correction by Mandy -- should be preceded) by the demise of Lady Sybil Branson, played by Jessica Brown Findlay. In an episode airing in the U.S. in January, Branson died after giving birth.

 While the show's faithful might have been disappointed by the deaths, they appear to have remained faithful to the show: Its February Season 3 finale on PBS, which airs the show in the U.S., drew a jaw-dropping 8.2 million total viewers, easily besting the viewership for the Season 2 finale.

 A spokeswoman for PBS member station WGBH said that the door is open for the O'Brien character to return in the future.
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« Reply #165 on: March 04, 2013, 08:16:17 am »

Also potential spoilers:
~~~


Comings and goings at 'Downton Abbey' next season
By FRAZIER MOORE | Associated Press – Sat, Mar 2, 2013


NEW YORK (AP) — Shirley MacLaine will be returning to "Downton Abbey" next season, and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa is joining the cast.

MacLaine will reprise her role as Martha Levinson, Lord Robert Crawley's freewheeling American mother-in-law, Carnival Films and "Masterpiece" on PBS said Saturday. MacLaine appeared in episodes early last season.

New Zealand-born soprano Te Kanawa will play a house guest. She will sing during her visit.

Other new cast members and characters include:

— Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, described as an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party (and who might be the one to mend Lady Mary Crawley's broken heart).

— Nigel Harman will play a valet named Green.

— Harriet Walter plays Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager Countess.

— Joanna David will play a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil.

— Julian Ovenden is cast as aristocrat Charles Blake.

"The addition of these characters can only mean more delicious drama, which is what 'Downton Abbey' is all about," said "Masterpiece" executive producer Rebecca Eaton.

Meanwhile, the producers have confirmed that villainous housemaid Sarah O'Brien won't be back. Siobhan Finneran, who played her, is leaving the show.

These announcements come shortly after the third season's airing in the United States. It concluded with the heartbreaking death of popular Matthew Crawley in a car crash, leaving behind his newborn child and loving wife, Lady Mary Crawley.

Matthew's untimely demise was the result of the departure from the series by actor Dan Stevens, who had starred in that role.

The third season also saw the shocking death of Lady Sybil Branson, who died during childbirth. She was played by the departing Jessica Brown Findlay.

Last season the wildly popular melodrama, set in early 20th century Britain, was the most-watched series on PBS since Ken Burns' epic "The Civil War," which first aired in 1990. The Nielsen Co. said 8.2 million viewers saw the "Downton" season conclusion.

"Downton Abbey," which airs on the "Masterpiece" anthology, won three Emmy awards last fall, including a best supporting actress trophy for Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess), who also won a Golden Globe in January.

In all, the series has won nine Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the ensemble cast, which is the first time the cast of a British television show has won this award.

Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle are among its other returning stars.

___

Online:

http://www.pbs.org/downton
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« Reply #166 on: March 04, 2013, 10:01:22 am »

I think I'm the only person on the planet that doesn't watch.  lol

If you mean doesn't watch Downton Abbey, you're not. I don't watch it either.

Maybe we should start a thread for people who don't watch Downton Abbey.  Grin
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« Reply #167 on: March 04, 2013, 12:08:47 pm »

(SPOILERS)

Keep posting here even though you don't watch, friends. Your comments are very interesting. On Saturday night I watched the episode where Sybyl and Tom had to leave Ireland separately and Ethyl gave up her baby to the parents of her dead husband. One of the things that moved me was Mrs. Crawley's reaction as she watched Ethyl walk away alone. She seemed completely devastated. I'm so glad to learn from the previews of the next episode that Ethyl and Mrs. Crawley continue on together. Don't know when I'll gather up the fortitude to watch the next episode where Sybyl dies in childbirth. I've been putting it off, and also watching Matthew as intently as possible, knowing he's not long for this world either!
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« Reply #168 on: March 04, 2013, 04:38:57 pm »

I think I'm the only person on the planet that doesn't watch.  lol

You 'n me both, Chuckie.

I've never seen any of it.
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« Reply #169 on: March 04, 2013, 04:39:47 pm »

If you mean doesn't watch Downton Abbey, you're not. I don't watch it either.

Maybe we should start a thread for people who don't watch Downton Abbey.  Grin

Great idea!   Cool  Grin
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« Reply #170 on: March 05, 2013, 12:07:20 am »

Carson calls someone a "hobbledehoy" and it becomes an item in the Twitterverse! https://twitter.com/tomandlorenzo/status/288104639608532993
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« Reply #171 on: March 05, 2013, 12:14:14 am »

Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO......not Mathew........gees he is one of my favourites.......and he has the best "come to bed" eyes I have seen since Richard Gere.......

I hate it when these dam actors decide to leave a character and change the whole story.....
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« Reply #172 on: March 05, 2013, 03:03:02 am »

Now the cat is out of the bag,
I really finished watching the last Christmas edition and decided I would not watch again. I may weaken.  Roll Eyes
To me that is the hall mark of a soap when the story line depends on the needs of the actors, not the writer.

I was amused when I came to NZ and found that Coronation Street is still running and 2 nights per week. That died a death in Australia many years ago.
Back in the 80's I would rush home to watch Eastenders then one day the Tv station just took it off air. I was horrified but it taught me a lesson. I have never watched a soap since.
It is always sad when a good series ends but we get over it and it is better than having it drag on and lose all reality.

Yes it did not help that I was madly in love with Dan Stevens  Wink
I will have to look out for him. He seems to have been mainly in TV mini series and was in "The Line of Beauty" I am a fan of Allan Hollinghurst and have read most of his books .I think I watched the Line of Beauty.  Photos show Dan Stevens was much younger although it was only 6 years ago.  I checked and sadly he is married with children  Smiley
I will watch out for his films.
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« Reply #173 on: March 05, 2013, 09:24:07 am »

Two of my coworkers are always talking about Downton Abbey, and trying to get me to watch.

I just laugh it off.
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« Reply #174 on: March 05, 2013, 10:19:49 am »

Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO......not Mathew........gees he is one of my favourites.......and he has the best "come to bed" eyes I have seen since Richard Gere.......

I hate it when these dam actors decide to leave a character and change the whole story.....

Sometimes actors shoot themselves--and their careers--in the foot when they leave a successful series.  Cool
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« Reply #175 on: March 05, 2013, 10:36:24 am »

Sometimes actors shoot themselves--and their careers--in the foot when they leave a successful series.  Cool

The name David Caruso ring a bell?

Although I think he's recovered now, hasn't he?  I seem to remember him being on another hit series.
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« Reply #176 on: March 05, 2013, 01:00:01 pm »

The name David Caruso ring a bell?

Although I think he's recovered now, hasn't he?  I seem to remember him being on another hit series.

He's EXACTLY who I had in mind. Yes, I think it took him years to recoup, but he became the head guy on C.S.I.: Miami.
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« Reply #177 on: March 05, 2013, 01:37:41 pm »

For those who have not been watching
Dan Stevens
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« Reply #178 on: October 17, 2013, 04:14:07 pm »

Well the next series of Downton Abbey is starting next Wednesday here in NZ. I vowed not to watch it after Matthew was killed. but am afraid it looks like I will.
There was an interview with Maggie Smith during the week. She is marvellous. All the promos seem to focus on how the family try to help Lady Mary cope.
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« Reply #179 on: January 05, 2014, 09:38:56 pm »

The new series starts in one hour in the US! Is everyone suffering from Downton Abbey fatigue? Not me...I am excited!
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« Reply #180 on: January 06, 2014, 01:20:15 pm »

I'm long on Downton.  Absolutely love the series!

Take the quiz and tell us which character you turned out to be.

(It appears I'm to be Mr Carson...)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/which-downton-abbey-character-are-you
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« Reply #181 on: January 06, 2014, 03:37:07 pm »

I took that quiz and I am Anna. I'm glad I'm not someone who's no longer on the series.

I can totally see you as Mr. Carson! did you see the season premiere last night where Carson's relationship with a guy named Mr. Griggs was explored?
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« Reply #182 on: January 06, 2014, 03:47:22 pm »

I took that quiz and I am Anna. I'm glad I'm not someone who's no longer on the series.

I can totally see you as Mr. Carson! did you see the season premiere last night where Carson's relationship with a guy named Mr. Griggs was explored?

I'm Mr. Carson, too.

Interesting to see them bring Mr. Grigg back. He was in an episode in season 1, I think, where he came to "expose" and blackmail Mr. Carson by threatening to reveal their past together in vaudeville/music hall.  What were they called?  The Singing Charlies?  I can't recall.
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« Reply #183 on: January 06, 2014, 04:08:21 pm »




Which "Downton Abbey"
Character Are You?


You got:

Violet Crawley,
Dowager Countess
of Grantham


BBC / Via visiontv.ca

Like Bey said, “This my shit, bow down, bitches.”


Hmmm. How is that possible considering I chose:




But then, of course, I did choose:

“It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding.”

 laugh


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« Reply #184 on: January 06, 2014, 04:14:07 pm »

I took that quiz and I am Anna. I'm glad I'm not someone who's no longer on the series.

I can totally see you as Mr. Carson! did you see the season premiere last night where Carson's relationship with a guy named Mr. Griggs was explored?

Yes, I would be most unhappy to find I was a deceased character.  I did watch the season opener last night, and I've carefully avoided all internet spoilers regarding season 4.  Top notch production values - it really is the only program I look forward to seeing every week.
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« Reply #185 on: January 20, 2014, 07:57:15 pm »

Here's an article from The Telegraph regarding Dame Kiri as Dame Nellie:


How Downton Abbey got Nellie Melba all wrong

The real Dame Nellie, as played by Kiri Te Kanawa in Downton Abbey, was an old soak who would never have tolerated being treated as a tradesperson



By  Rupert Christiansen, Opera Critic

10:15AM BST 07 Oct 2013

Confined to her room with a cup of tea and treated by Carson as though she was a visiting tradesperson during her visit to Downton Abbey? The real Dame Nellie Melba wouldn’t have tolerated such treatment for a nanosecond. In 1922, she had enjoyed 30 years of being received as a social equal by crowned heads and aristocrats throughout Europe, and she would only have sung at a private party as a personal favour to her host. Melba was nobody’s hireling: she called all the shots, and the Granthams and their staff would have quaked at her approach.

Impersonating this gorgon, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at 69 looked much younger and more glamorous than the real Melba (who in 1922 would have been eight years younger).

But she sounded rather worse - recordings of the Australian soprano dating from that era demonstrate singing far more secure and shapely than Dame Kiri’s. Sharp unsteady intonation, heavy vibrato and tastelessly swooping portamento vitiated what fragments we heard of her performance of two arias by Puccini and a song by Dvorak: the dastardly Green’s reference to the noise of ‘a cat on a bonfire’ was unkind, but Mrs Patmore’s expression of heavenly rapture was scarcely convincing, and no wonder that poor Anna Bates whisperingly complained of a headache. 

Dame Kiri delivered a few lines of dialogue in stiffly parroted and nervous fashion which reminded me that even in her glorious vocal prime she had never been much of an actress, while her flatly modern mid-Atlantic accent was nothing like Melba’s cultivated diction (of which evidence survives on a recording of her farewell to Covent Garden in 1926). I greatly admire the shrewd casting of Downton Abbey, but this was not one of its happier inspirations.

Two footnotes: at dinner, Melba-Te Kanawa admitted to a study of claret and a fondness for Haut Brion: the real Melba was rumoured to be not so much a sophisticated oenophile as something of an old soak, but dedicated professional that she was, it is highly unlikely that she would have touched throat-desiccating alcohol just before singing. And I was unconvinced by Isobel Crawley’s expressed preference for the music of Bartok, which had barely registered in the Britain of 1922 - a douceur for Debussy might have rung a little truer. In other words, Downton Abbey’s cultural pretensions had tripped up once again, leaving the whole episode deliciously ludicrous and emptily improbable.
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« Reply #186 on: January 20, 2014, 08:29:30 pm »

Hmm. I feel a sudden craving for Peaches Melba. ...
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« Reply #187 on: March 19, 2014, 04:54:18 pm »

Any Branson fans out there?  Allen Leech starred in an Irish film called "Cowboys and Angels" in 2003.  It's fun to see him play a very different type of character.

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« Reply #188 on: March 19, 2014, 05:02:16 pm »

Also, did anyone recognize Lord Gillingham?  The actor's name, Tom Cullen, was vaguely familiar.  But it took me forever to put it together:  he's the guy from "Weekend"!

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« Reply #189 on: March 19, 2014, 05:03:37 pm »

And, as himself:

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« Reply #190 on: March 20, 2014, 04:10:40 am »

Also, did anyone recognize Lord Gillingham?  The actor's name, Tom Cullen, was vaguely familiar.  But it took me forever to put it together:  he's the guy from "Weekend"!


OMG, so it is! Ditto for me, but how could I not recognise him when I loved him so much in 'Weekend'? (So that's what he was up to while Glen was in America? How could he??)
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« Reply #191 on: March 20, 2014, 04:11:30 am »

And, as himself:


Gorgeous!