Downton Abbey: Best binge watching during lockdown?


Mr Carson at Downton Abbey. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

I’ve seen others write about their favourite binge watching during the Covid-19 lockdown – so here’s mine: Downton Abbey. I just love it.

Sumptuous setting and costumes; good acting (who can go past Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess – she has the best lines); and a storyline that keeps you engaged (most of the time).

And here I must make a confession: the Downton Abbey storyline – where an heir appears from another branch of the family – well, I’ve used that in my own Belleville books for the English storyline of the Cavendish family – (an obscure fictional branch of the Duke of Devonshire’s family).

However, I do explain to my readers how Edward Cavendish is able to lay claim to the baronetcy but it’s never quite explained in Downton Abbey how Matthew Crawley – or for that matter the heirs lost on the Titanic – happen to be in a position in the family tree to inherit the title (which goes down the male line).

There is a lamentable lack of backstory in Downton Abbey if you think about it. Very little reference to the current Earl of Grantham’s father even though his mother has a major role.

Do you think it’s because this is a television script creation – and a good one too – but it lacks the depth you can deliver in a book? I’ve been wondering about that.

There are elements of the Dowager in my character Lady Marina Cavendish. 

So where am I up to with the binge watching? Matthew and Lady Mary have just reconciled against the backdrop of a snow-covered Downton Abbey.

But sadly I know what’s ahead – of course I’ve watched this all before.



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