“Downton Abbey” Lives!
Here is a group shot of the main “Downton Abbey” cast, excited to be returning to US TV!
Mark Your Calendars!
PBS has just announced that the new season of “Downton Abbey” returns to PBS on January 5, 2014 – I cannot wait for the return of my favorite show!
Here’s another nice group photo of the “Downton Abbey” cast:
Except it’s not! It’s the cast of “Gosford Park”, which in many ways is the prequel to “Downton Abbey”!
As we ramp up for the show’s return, look at some of the other “Downton Abbey” material that is out there to enjoy!
Julian Fellowes and His “Downton Abbey” Rehearsal!
Like all of you, I LOVE “Downton Abbey”, and am counting the days until the new season begins…but I remembered that there was a movie that really set the stage for “Downton”, written by the same person!
Writer Julian Fellowes won the Acsademy Award in 2001 for his screenplay of “Gosford Park”, and when you watch it, you see so many echoes of what would become “Downton Abbey!”
Legendary Director Robert Altman made this terrific mystery that takes place in a perfect “Downton Abbey” environment…
Henry Denton: You Brits really don’t have a sense of humor do you?
Elsie (Head Housemaid): We do if something’s funny, sir.
Check out this trailer:
Set in the 1930’s the story takes place in an old fashioned English country house where a family has invited many of their friends up for a weekend shooting party. The story centers around the McCordle family, particularly the man of the house, William McCordle. Getting on in years William has become benefactor to many of his relatives and friends. As the weekend goes on and secrets are revealed, it seems everyone, above stairs and below, wants a piece of William and his money, but how far will they go to get it?
Look at this terrific cast – first, head of staff Helen Mirren:
And, in a perfect rehearsal for “Downton Abbey”, look who is also in the film!
Hooray to Maggie Smith, who shows why she needed to be in “Downton”!
As you can see, lots of terrific dialogue that evokes the tone of “Abbey”…
Mrs. Croft: He’s very full of himself, I must say. Doesn’t eat meat. He’s coming to a shooting party and he doesn’t eat meat.
Mrs. Wilson: Now now Mrs Croft. We don’t want to be thought unsophisticated do we? Mr Weissman’s an American. They do things differently there.
The terrific actress Emily Watson is also in the film, another of the staff…
Bob Balaban recommended to Robert Altman that Julian Fellowes write the screenplay. “Altman asked him to try it, and maybe six weeks later Julian sent the first 75 pages. It was clear that he was brilliant and his knowledge of class society, the workings of it, was encyclopedic. This talented writer, moldering away as a relatively unsuccessful actor! That was a brass ring, and he took it. It’s part of the key to his current success, his work ethic. He doesn’t procrastinate. He doesn’t hide. He works like a demon.” (Alex Wichtel, NYTimes 9/2011)
Julian Fellowes delivers an Oscar-winning screenplay, full of great dialogue like this:
Robert Parks: What’s your name?
Mary Maceachran: I think here I’m called Trentham.
Robert Parks: [laughs] No, I meant your real name.
Mary Maceachran: Oh. Mary. Mary Maceachran.
Robert Parks: Blimey. What does Her Ladyship call you?
Mary Maceachran: Well, she should call me Maceachran now I’m a lady’s maid. At least that’s what my mother says. But Her Ladyship can’t pronounce it, so she just calls me Mary.
Robert Parks: I don’t blame her.
And how about this: Julian Fellowes also wrote a novel that captures class structure in England as well!
“The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them.”
“Snobs”, a novel by Julian Fellowes
The best comedies of manners are often deceptively simple, seamlessly blending social critique with character and story. Fellowes manages to do just that with his first novel…
In his superbly observed first novel, Julian Fellowes, creator of the Masterpiece sensation “Downton Abbey” and winner of an Academy Award for his original screenplay of “Gosford Park”, brings us an insider’s look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed.
As you can tell, Fellowes writes about the class structure of England, so beautifully evoked in “Downton Abbey”, and superbly set up in his screenplay for “Gosford Park”.
I am a huge fan of Fellowes, and if you are “Downton Abbey” fans, you are too! So check out this novel, as well as “Gosford Park”, and keep “Downton Abbey” alive!
Here is a look at the final season and some other fun trivia as well:
The whole thing makes me hungry, so what to do?
“Downton Abbey” Dinner!
Of course, the success of “Abbey” has spawned a number of official and unofficial spin-offs…like this – finally, you can EAT like “Downton Abbey” too!
The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding – More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs, by Emily Ansara Baines
Look at this: Nibble on Sybil’s Ginger Nut Biscuits during tea. Treat yourself to Ethel’s Beloved Crepes Suzette. Feast on Mr. Bates’ Chicken and Mushroom Pie with a room full of guests.
With this collection of delicacies inspired by Emmy Award-winning series Downton Abbey, you’ll feel as sophisticated and poised as the men and women of Downton when you prepare these upstairs and downstairs favorites. Each dish finds its roots within the kitchen of the grand estate, including:
Mrs. Isobel Crawley’s Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
Filet Mignon with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce
Walnut and Celery Salad with Pecorino
Decadent Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Icing
Very Vanilla Rice Pudding
You will love indulging in the splendors of another era with the snacks, entrees, and desserts from this masterpiece of a cookbook. So grab a book, a blu-ray and some food and live like “Downton Abbey”!
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