Six years ago I happened to be channel surfing (I hardly ever do that) but anyway, I paused on a show that intrigued me. There was a woman who reminded me so much of Susan Sarandon (but who is actually Maggie Smith) and characters dressed to the nines in the late 1800s.
I was fascinated by it and became hooked instantly. Both by the characters upstairs and down, and by the period of time, by the setting and props and the musical score of the intro–all of it.
I became fascinated with the world of the upper class and the hard life of the servants. It amazed me how Lady Mary and the rest couldn’t get dressed alone or comb their own hair. Everything was done for them. Of course, I knew this already, from reading novels and history, but seeing it played out was mesmerizing.
Then there was drama among the servants. Their free time so limited and the dreams they had for a better life or improving their status.
And the castle itself! I can not imagine living in such a place and the number of rugs, lamps, tables and chairs it took to furnish it. And the number of servants to clean and keep it operating. A whole new world. If I ever get across the pond, visiting Highclere Castle is at the top of my list.
Julian Fellowes, Downton’s writer, whatever else he may tackle, he got this one right. And here in America, (at least in my corner), all the cast of Downton will be missed.