Previous classic costume dramas like UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS were a bit staid, but the fascinating thing about DOWNTON is that is done in the modern zappy American style. Each character – and there’s about 20 of them - have their own story arcs and there are some marvellous bits of humour here and there, as in the first episode here, the uppity new maid wanted the cook Mrs Patmore to save her some of the crepes suzettes from “upstairs” but she annoys the cook who takes pleasure is tossing the pancakes to the dog – it’s a little moment but a satisfying one.
Lots to look forward to here then as the Estate becomes a convalescent home, and will Matthew and that devious footman Thomas survive in the trenches? Overall, the sumptuous drama remains as inviting as before. Classic costume drama at it’s best then. Best though to record it and watch afterwards, zapping out the commercial breaks as there are too many of them, and how soon will the DVD be out?
I now see that Jane Asher (who played the younger sister in THE GREENGAGE SUMMER (LOSS OF INNOCENCE) is playing Lady Bracknell in a new production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST and I imagine she will be terrific in the role. Asher is actually the same age (64) as Dame Edith Evans when she played the role. Several actresses have portrayed a younger sexier Lady Bracknell - Jane should be perfect! What a contrast to her dolly bird in Skolimowski's 1970 DEEP END, reviewed here (Jane Asher label), and just out on dvd.
Below: performers now have the internet in their dressing rooms!
Alice Krige has also turned into a fascinating presence - now in the BBC series SPOOKS as Peter Firth's lost love, and as Ralph Fiennes' ex-wife in PAGE EIGHT the recent film by David Hare (reviewed recently here). I did not see her Borg Queen in a STAR TREK film, but she has been quietly impressive so many different genres - that icy patrician Roman in the 2001 ATTILA (as played by Gerard Butler), SOLOMON KANE, and others since her debut in CHARIOTS OF FIRE.