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Downton Abbey

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Title: Downton Abbey  
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Collection: 2010 British Television Programme Debuts, 2010S British Television Series, 2015 British Television Programme Endings, Best Miniseries or Television Movie Golden Globe Winners, British Drama Television Series, British Lgbt-Related Television Programmes, Costume Drama Television Series, Downton Abbey, Fictional Houses, Fictional Servants, Itv Television Dramas, Masterpiece Theatre, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Screen Actors Guild Award Winners, Period Television Series, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries Winners, Serial Drama Television Series, Television Series Set in the 1910S, Television Series Set in the 1920S, Television Shows Set in Yorkshire, World War I Television Drama Series
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Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey
Upper half has clouds with violet sky and
Genre Period drama
Created by Julian Fellowes
Written by
Directed by
Starring
Opening theme "Did I Make the Most of Loving You?"
Composer(s) John Lunn
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 42 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Liz Trubridge (series producer)
  • Nigel Marchant
Editor(s)
  • John Wilson
  • Steve Singleton
  • Mike Jones
Cinematography David Katznelson (series 1)
Gavin Struthers (series 2)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time Regular episodes: 47–53 minutes
Extended episodes: 64–69 minutes
Christmas specials: 92 minutes
(excluding commercial breaks)
Production company(s)
Broadcast
Original channel ITV (UK)
PBS (US)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Stereophonic
Original run 26 September 2010 (2010-09-26) – present
External links
Website

Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece.[1] It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 26 September 2010 and on PBS in the United States on 9 January 2011 as part of the Masterpiece Classic anthology. Four complete series have been aired so far; the fifth began airing in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2014, and in Ireland on 24 September 2014. It will begin airing in the United States on 4 January 2015.[2][3]

The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Such events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the first series; the outbreak of the First World War, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second series; the interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third series; the Teapot Dome scandal in the fourth series; and the United Kingdom general election of 1923 and the Beer Hall Putsch in the fifth series.

Downton Abbey has received critical acclaim from television critics and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie. It was recognised by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011. It earned the most nominations of any international television series in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with twenty-seven in total (after two series).[4] It was the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS, and subsequently became the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial of Brideshead Revisited.[5] By the third series, it had become one of the most widely watched television drama shows in the world.[6]

Contents

  • Overview 1
  • Production 2
  • Locations 3
  • Opening theme 4
  • Cast 5
    • Crawley family 5.1
    • Staff 5.2
    • Crawley family friends and acquaintances 5.3
    • Recurring and guest cast 5.4
  • Episodes 6
    • Series one 6.1
    • Series two 6.2
      • Christmas Special 2011 6.2.1
    • Series three 6.3
      • Christmas Special 2012 6.3.1
    • Series four 6.4
      • Christmas Special 2013 6.4.1
    • Series five 6.5
      • Christmas special 2014 6.5.1
    • Prequel 6.6
  • Themes 7
  • Reception 8
    • Series one 8.1
    • Series two 8.2
    • Series three 8.3
    • Series four 8.4
    • Awards and nominations 8.5
    • Anti-Irish allegations 8.6
    • Authenticity 8.7
  • Influence 9
  • Broadcast 10
    • STV opt out 10.1
  • Releases 11
    • Blu-ray and DVD 11.1
    • Soundtrack 11.2
      • Track listing 11.2.1
    • Books 11.3
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • Further reading 14
  • External links 15

Overview

The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a The Custom of the Country,[7] the first series opens at the end of the Edwardian era in 1912 with news of the family heir's death aboard the Titanic, spanning the two years before the Great War. The second series covered the years 1916 to 1919, and the 2011 Christmas Special covered the 1919 Christmas period, ending in early 1920. The third series picks up soon afterwards, covering 1920 through the autumn of 1921. The fourth series covers a six-month period between February and August 1922, while the 2013 Christmas special was set in summer 1923.

Production

Gareth Neame of Carnival Films conceived the idea of an Edwardian-era TV drama set in a country house and approached Fellowes, who had won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) for Gosford Park. Although Fellowes was reluctant to work on another project resembling Gosford, within a few weeks he returned to Neame with an outline of the first series. Fellowes writes the scripts and his wife Emma is an informal story editor.[8]

Locations

Highclere Castle in Hampshire is used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey and most of the interior filming.[9][10][11][12] The kitchen, servants' quarters and working areas, and some of the "upstairs" bedrooms were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios.[13]

Highclere Castle, used for interior and exterior filming of Downton Abbey

The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire is used to film outdoor scenes. Notable locations include St Mary's Church and the library, which served as the entrance to the cottage hospital.[14] The old rectory in Bampton is used for the exterior shots of Isobel Crawley's house, with the interior scenes being filmed at Hall Place near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire.[15]

The Downton Abbey of the title and setting, though fictional, is described as lying in the historical County of Yorkshire. The towns of Easingwold, Kirkby Malzeard, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Middlesbrough, Ripon, Richmond, and Thirsk, each mentioned by characters in the series, lie in present-day North Yorkshire, as does the city of York, while Leeds—similarly mentioned—lies in West Yorkshire; local Yorkshire media speculated the general location of the fictional Downton Abbey to be somewhere in the triangulated area between the towns of Easingwold, Ripon and Thirsk.[16]

First World War trench warfare scenes in France were filmed in a replica battlefield, specially constructed for period war scenes in a field near the village of Akenham in rural Suffolk.[17][18]

Many historical locations and aristocratic mansions have been used to film various scenes:

The fictional Haxby Park, the estate Sir Richard Carlisle intends to buy in Series 2, is part of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.[19] Byfleet Manor in Surrey is the location for the Dower House, home to Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham,[20] while West Wycombe Park in Buckinghamshire is used for the interior scenes of Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond)'s London residence in Eaton Square.[21] A house in Belgrave Square, London, is used for the exterior shots.[22]

Inveraray Castle in Argyll, Scotland, doubled as "Duneagle Castle" in the 2012 Christmas special.[23]

Greys Court in Oxfordshire was used as the family's secondary property, into which they proposed moving and calling 'Downton Place' due to financial difficulties in the third series. Also in the third series, Bates's prison scenes were filmed at Lincoln Castle in Lincolnshire.

Horsted Keynes railway station in West Sussex is used as Downton station.[24] The station is part of the heritage Bluebell Railway. St Pancras station in London doubled for King's Cross station in episode one of series 4, in the scene where Lady Edith Crawley meets her lover Michael Gregson.[25]

Parts of series 4 were filmed at The Historic Dockyard Chatham – The Tarred Yarn Store was used in episode one as a workhouse where Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan) visits Mr Grigg (Nicky Henson) and in episode two, streets at The Historic Dockyard Chatham were used for the scenes where Lady Rose MacClare (Lily James) is at the market with James Kent (Ed Speleers) watching her.[26]

Other filming locations for series 4 include the Criterion Restaurant, and the ballroom of The Savile Club in Mayfair, London.[27]

Scenes for the 2013 Christmas special were filmed at Royal Holloway, University of London, West Wittering beach in West Sussex and Berkshire's Basildon Park. Lancaster House in London stood in for Buckingham Palace.[28][29]

Opening theme

The opening theme to Downton Abbey, titled "Did I Make the Most of Loving You?",[30] was composed by John Lunn.[31] A suite version was released on the soundtrack for the show in 19 September 2011 in the UK and later in the US on 13 December 2011. The soundtrack also included the song performed by singer Mary-Jess Leaverland,[32] with lyrics written by Don Black.[33] According to Lunn, the inspiration for the theme to Downton Abbey came from James Brown.[31]

Cast

Table of cast members
Actor Character Series
1 2 3 4 5
Main Characters
Hugh Bonneville Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham Main
Jessica Brown Findlay Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) Main
Laura Carmichael Lady Edith Crawley Main
Jim Carter Charles "Charlie" Carson Main
Raquel Cassidy Phyllis Baxter Recurring Main
Brendan Coyle John Bates Main
Tom Cullen Anthony Foyle, Lord Gillingham Recurring Main
Michelle Dockery Lady Mary Crawley Main
Kevin Doyle Joseph Molesley Recurring Main
Siobhan Finneran Sarah O'Brien Main
Joanne Froggatt Anna Bates (née Smith) Main
Thomas Howes William Mason Main
Lily James Lady Rose MacClare Recurring Main
Rob James-Collier Thomas Barrow Main
Allen Leech Tom Branson Recurring Main
Rose Leslie Gwen Dawson Main
Phyllis Logan Elsie Hughes Main
Elizabeth McGovern Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham Main
Sophie McShera Daisy Robinson Main
Matt Milne Alfred Nugent Main
Lesley Nicol Beryl Patmore Main
Amy Nuttall Ethel Parks Main
Julian Ovenden Charles Blake Recurring Main
David Robb Dr Richard Clarkson Recurring Main
Maggie Smith Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham Main
Ed Speleers James "Jimmy" Kent Main
Dan Stevens Matthew Crawley Main
Cara Theobold Ivy Stuart Recurring Main
Penelope Wilton Isobel Crawley Main
Recurring Characters
Robert Bathurst Sir Anthony Strallan Recurring Guest Recurring
Samantha Bond Lady Rosamund Painswick Guest Recurring Guest Recurring
Zoe Boyle Lavinia Swire Recurring
MyAnna Buring Edna Braithwaite Guest Recurring
Clare Calbraith Jane Moorsum Recurring
Gary Carr Jack Ross Recurring
Michael Cochrane Reverend Albert Travis Recurring
Paul Copley Mr Mason Recurring Guest
Jonathan Coy George Murray Guest Recurring
Maria Doyle Kennedy Vera Bates Recurring
Charles Edwards Michael Gregson Recurring
Peter Egan Hugh "Shrimpie" MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire Guest Recurring
Bernard Gallagher Bill Molesley Guest Guest
Iain Glen Sir Richard Carlisle Recurring
Richard E. Grant Simon Bricker Recurring
Nigel Harman Alex Green Recurring
Daisy Lewis Sarah Bunting Recurring
Christine Lohr May Bird Guest Recurring
Christine Mackie Daphne Bryant Recurring
Shirley MacLaine Martha Levinson Recurring Guest
Kevin McNally Horace Bryant Recurring Guest
Brendan Patricks The Hon Evelyn Napier Recurring Recurring
Daniel Pirrie Maj Charles Bryant Recurring
Douglas Reith Lord Merton Guest Recurring
Andrew Scarborough Tim Drewe Recurring
Jeremy Swift Spratt Recurring

Crawley family

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