For five years, we have cribbed and whined because our favourite drama ever was not aired in India. But it was a good thing. Watching five seasons of
in one go is the next best thing. No, it is the best thing. Ever.
Downton Abbey is a Yorkshire country house, where the Earl and Countess of Grantham (Robert and Cora Crawley – their last names are not Grantham, just their title) live with their three daughters (the uptight Mary, the feminist Sybil and poor neglected Edith) and countless servants.
: It’s Downton, not Down-town.
1. This is like a Jane Austen novel
. There are suitors for Mary – most notably, her “cousin Matthew”. Sybil is a champion for all causes – education, socialism and women’s rights. And the rather plain (at first) Edith.
2. The history:
It is 1912 when the opening credits roll in, and the Titanic has just sunk. You will be taken through the First World War, the feminist movement, the Irish Civil War, the Russian Revolution and the affairs of the British royal family. The last episode was set in 1925.
3. Downstairs and upward mobility:
This could very well be a show only about what happens downstairs (that’s where the servants live) under the strict supervision of Mr Carson, the butler and Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper.
There are several maids and footmen, a fat, lovable cook (Mrs Patmore), an adorable scullery maid (Daisy)... the list is endless. You’ll see how their lives change after the First World War – and how they mix with the Crawleys (very intimately).
4. The little details:
This is a world where women did not inherit estates (so will Downton go to Robert’s distant cousin who is *gasp* a lawyer in *gasp* Manchester).
What must it be like to be gay back then? And what if a society lady were to date an African-American jazz singer? And the obscene bestseller of the time was Maria Stopes’ Married Love, a manual for married women.
5. Maggie Smith:
Only the best actress ever! The 80-year-old plays Robert’s mother, or the Dowager Countess. She’ll teach you how to insult in polite society.
Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class
Psst, starting on January 23 on Star World, Monday to Friday at 10pm
From HT Brunch, January 18, 2015
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