On Sunday of last week, an era came to a close. Julian Fellowes period soap opera, Downton Abbey, aired its final episode on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater. I have thoroughly enjoyed the six years I’ve spent with the Crawley family and their downstairs staff. Their story has been compelling, and the characters well defined. It’s made me almost forget 165 Eaton Place, and the Bellamy’s.
The casting for Downton was perfection. Hugh Bonneville was perfect as the Earl of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern, as the Countess, fit the role to a T. Casting veteran actress, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham and the family matriarch, was brilliant. Smith sucked the air out of her every scene, and even manged to upstage Shirley MacLaine in her cameo as the American in-law.
I think my favorite character would have to be Carson, the tyrannical butler, who ruled Downton with a rigid respect for tradition, and fought change until the final episode. His romance with Mrs. Hughes was the only hint that, even Carson, was human.
When Fellowes convinced the Eighth Earl of Carnarvon to allow Highclere Castle to become the setting for Downton Abbey, I’m sure that neither expected the celebrity that would follow. Highclere had been used many times as a setting for movies and television productions, and the income derived had been important in maintaining the 5,000 acre estate, but since the success of the television show, the additional income has allowed long needed renovations to be done.
In Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes accomplished what every fiction writer strives for, to create a tale that allows the viewer to suspend belief, and be personally immersed in the story. Thanks to Downton and Upstairs, Downstairs, I’ve had the opportunity to live in Edwardian England, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Highclere Castle image is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to www.flicker.com
Categories: As I Like It!