This British Television Series is simply superb (IMHO)! I started watching this show from it’s debut in January 2011 and we are currently on season 3 here in the states. The show was created by Julian Fellowes. Some of you may be familiar with him from his days on another brilliant British Television Series called Monarch of the Glen (Another one of my favorites!). He played the part of Kilwille.
The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, the seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V. The first series spanned the two years before the Great War beginning with news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which set the story in motion. 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 thereafter, covering 1920 through the autumn of 1921.
The past and present cast consists of the following:
Hugh Bonneville – Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham – The Lord Grantham, head of the Crawley
Elizabeth McGovern – Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham – The Lady Grantham, Lord Grantham’s American heiress wife
Michelle Dockery – Lady Mary Crawley – Eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham
Laura Carmichael – Lady Edith Crawley – Middle daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham
Jessica Brown Findlay – Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) – Youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham
Maggie Smith – Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham – Lord Grantham’s mother and grandmother to Lady Mary, Lady Edith and the Late Lady Sybil and Great-grandmother to Lady Sybil’s child and Lady Mary’s child
Allen Leech – Tom Branson – Agent of the estate and former chauffeur
Dan Stevens – Matthew Crawley – Heir presumptive (third cousin once removed) of Lord Grantham; former lawyer, latterly co-owner of the estate
Penelope Wilton – Isobel Crawley – Widow of Reginald Crawley and Matthew’s mother; former nurse
Lily James – Lady Rose MacClare – Cousin and ward of the Granthams; daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire
Jim Carter – Charles “Charlie” Carson – Butler
Phyllis Logan – Elsie Hughes – Housekeeper
Brendan Coyle – John Bates – widower of Vera and Anna’s husband and Lord Grantham’s valet
Siobhan Finneran – Sarah O’Brien – Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid
Rob James-Collier – Thomas Barrow – Footman, later Lord Grantham’s valet, then underbutler
Joanne Froggatt – Anna Bates (née Smith) – Head housemaid, later lady’s maid; wife to John Bates
Lesley Nicol – Beryl Patmore Cook
Sophie McShera – Daisy Mason (née Robinson) – Kitchen maid, later assistant cook; widow of William Mason
Thomas Howes – William Mason – Footman; late husband of Daisy
Rose Leslie – Gwen Dawson – Housemaid
Amy Nuttall – Ethel Parks – Housemaid, later Mrs Crawley’s Housekeeper
Kevin Doyle – Joseph Molesley – Mr Crawley’s butler and valet
Matt Milne – Alfred Nugent – Footman
Edward Speleers – James “Jimmy” Kent – Footman
A Special Guest star that is on this Season (3) is Shirley MacLaine who plays Martha Levinson, American mother of Lady Grantham and Grandmother of Lady Mary,Lady Edith and the late Lady Sybil and Great-Grandmother to Lady Sybil’s child and Lady Mary’s Child. The way that Shirley and Maggie Smith interact is wonderful, just love watching them go at it!
Downton Abbey is a quality show with a superb cast, excellent plot development, wonderful scenery, lavish sets and costumes and brilliant performances!