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and life along the winding road

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Downton Abbey Series

The first of the new season of Downton Abbey didn't disappoint. I just love Maggie Smith's flawless delivery of sarcastic remarks (zingers).

The setting for this popular series is Highclere Castle where Lord and Lady Carnarvon reside. Julian Fellows seems to have used some of the family's history for plot lines in his series. Highclere Castle itself has had many colorful occupants which were revealed by Lady Fiona Carnarvon in an interview about the castle. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon funded architectural digs in Egypt which resulted in the discovery of  Tutankhamen's Tomb and Lady Almina may have been the inspiration behind Elizabeth McGovern's character, The Countess of Grantham. She used the house as a convalescent home for officers returning home injured during WWI. Lady Carnarvon in a PBS program about the castle showed the bedroom that was converted to an operating room during that time.

In Parade Magazine's article, Julian Fellowes also talks about his own family history and how it shaped his screenwriting for Downton Abbey.  He says Violet Grantham was based on his tyrannical great aunt, Isie. Robert Grantham is drawn from memories of his father who was a deeply moral man, but he is quick to point out was cleverer than Robert Grantham. His mother, although from a respectable middle class family, was of a lower birth than his father, something his father's side of the family disapproved of even though (as Julian's brother often states) their father was part of the "landless gentry".

Julian Fellowes friendship with Lord and Lady Carnarvon and his own upbringing give him a unique insight into the upstairs/downstairs characters of Downton Abbey. He gives each of the characters their own story and whether upstairs or below, he makes each of the characters significant.


Kim said...

I just downloaded the first episode of season 1 and watched it last night. I'm hooked!

Joanne said...

The whole production is divine. Television perfection. Julian Fellowes' writing is flawless, and he gives great speeches when winning awards for his great writing.

Tiffany Norris said...

I just know I would love this, so I haven't even let myself start watching yet! Maybe after school is over?

K9friend said...

I've never seen this show. Everyone raves about it so much that I may have to watch so I know what the fuss is all about!

Critter Alley

Mason Canyon said...

I haven't watched any episodes of this yet, but have heard wonderful things about it. It sounds like one I'd be hooked on if I watched just one show.

Thoughts in Progress

ShantyGirl said...

I actually watched Downtown Abbey for the first time this week so I need to go on netflix and see all the ones leading up to where I am at as I did really enjoy the show! What fun taking shooting lessons!! You have been up to alot girl!! So nice to stop by and read!

Patty said...

I can't believe I haven't seen any of this...I have to see the first two seasons!

A Ali said...

I just downloaded the first episode of season 1 and watched it last night.Gift card printing

Shirley said...

I really think that anything Maggie Smith is in will be good! She is superb!