The film Downton Abbey had its first premiere on Monday, 13th, September in London. It has been four years since fans bid farewell to the TV drams. No surprise that being back with big screen is hotly anticipated. The creator says if fans are into it, a sequel can follow.
The story is set in 1920s as the Lord Grantham and his family leads a comfortable and peaceful life in Downton as they used to. Suddenly a notice tells him that king and queen will come for a stay, which is like a stone put into a tranquil lake. The Downton has to shift its gear for the preparation. The staff for royal family comes in advance and tension follows as they arrive. Even Lady Mary is terrified by royal butler. Majesty’s chief’s arrogance makes Mrs. Patmore furious. By asking retired butler Mr. Carlson’s help, Lady Mary determines to defend Downton’s pride and show the family’s spirits in new time.
Downton Abbey produced by ITV made a hit when it was first showed and finally ended with 6 seasons. 15 Emmy awards were achieved. Five Christmas specials and two charity specials e were also highly praised.
Downton Abbey showed how English nobles lived in the early of 20th century. Delicate food, exquisite costume and luxurious house all captured the audience’s eyes. Manners and good qualities showed by characters also told the mass nobles was not only about being wealthy but also about being a noble person.
It was a pity that Jessica Findley who played Lady Sybil and Dan Stevens who played Matthew left the show in middle, but Downton Abbey was still kept on right track by exploring stories from other perspectives. How Lady Mary got rid of sorrow by losing Matthew and how Tom Branson tried to find life meaning after Sybil’s death became the show’s new spotlight. The audience could also find how Lady Edith fulfilled herself by running a magazine.
Downton Abbey featured with its representation of how servants in Downton Abbey lived. Loyalty, diligence, love and even conspiracy among the stall made the show more intrigued. The funny thing is in the film, Mrs. Patmore gets a “new” kitchen and all servants will enjoy themselves in a “new” hall because the filming is transferred to a set at Ealing Studios in West London. With a 100% accurate replication, fans will still see the same kitchen as they see in TV drama.
The drama also displayed the influences to ordinary people brought by history. The first season began with the Titanic and in this tragedy, Lord Grantham lost his heir and future son-in-law, so the next in line Matthew stepped into Downton and new story set off from here. Downton Abbey also made a charity and provided shelter for soldiers in World War I. The reform by Matthew and Tom in Downton Abbey reminded us the world was always changing. Sybil was a symbol of feminism and Edith’s life path also showed how woman could find their place in family and social life.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Downton Abbey led a trend. This British show was successful in America and it was believed that it was an inspiration for Netflix’s production of The Crown. The boss of Carnival Film Gareth Neame commented that “I don’t think there is any question that The Crown happened as a result of the doors that Downton Abbey opened”.
Neame also pointed that Downton Abbey was special because British shows haven been indulged in adaptations of great writers such as Jane Austin or Charles Dickens in this setting. The originality of Downton Abbey was precious. It was the first time a British show was paid by the price equivalent to a U.S show, which might change the game.
As the executive producer, Neame also revealed that the plan of a film production has begun just after the final season. “When we announced the end of the television show, the fans were only prepared to accept that because we said we hoped to come back in the future with a feature film,” Neame said. “If we just ended the show and that was it, so many people would be disappointed—I don’t think ‘devastated’ is too strong a word.”
All actors and actress rekindled their passion and blended with the character for the big screen, so the tension and caring between Lady Mary and Lady Edith would be back with the film, too. Interestingly, although these two characters were enemies in the show, the actresses were dear friends in real life. “For Laura and I, the meaner Edith and Mary were to each other, the better,” said Dockery. “We’re so close in real life, so it’s really fun playing such opposite characters.”