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Of course never in my wildest dreams would consider watching a British tv show about the arduous lives of the English nobility and their servants. When I was little, my sister kept watching “Upstairs, Downstairs”, which was as close as I ever got to watching British costume drama. Now Jane Eyre recently Craig Ferguson made me vulnerable, and Craig Ferguson’s perennial praise of Downton Abbey finally got me, so I watched the first two seasons. Well, certainly, my lord, there are more edgy and powerful stories told on tv, but not all the time, and there are some episodes that really are powerful. The story moves through the build-up of World War I, through the war and into the Spanish flu – and each of these brings about drama. The producers manage to create a set of recognizable characters (always important for me in shows with such a large cast), and usually avoids black-and-white clichés (servants Thomas and O’Brien may be exemptions to that rule, they are getting a bit on my nerves by now). The grumpy granny Ladyship Cawley played joyfully by Maggie Smith must surely be the darling of the script authors, as she is suffering from lack of sophistication more than anybody else (“Are you afraid people think you are American if you speak out freely?”, or “No Englishmen would dream of dying in somebody else’s house…”). Butler Carson (“the world does not turn on the style of a dinner!” / “My world does!”, or “he gave me the advice to speak what I think.”- “that sounds a bit wild…”) holds it all together, Valet Bates who is bursting with integrity and honour, to the point of hurting himself and his beloved ones… ah, nice one, I look forward  to finding out in September whether Mitchell got Mary, Bates gets out of his calamity, and maybe His Lordships finds a little maid in his chamber.

“If you are turning American on me, I will go downstairs!”

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