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Downton Abbey, una magnífica serie inglesa

Downton Abbey es una serie de ficción británica que se desarrolla a principios del Siglo XX y muestra como era la sociedad inglesa del momento.

The BBC has confirmed that there will be a 5th series of Downton Abbey, the hugely successful period drama, written by Julian Fellowes. So, what has made this show so successful? Firstly, a host of colourful characters, a sprinkling of romance between the Upper and Lower Classes, an element of danger, politics, glamour and a very well written script delivered by a very good cast. The hit show has won a string of awards in the UK and abroad for its nostalgic portrayal of life in the Edwardian era.

‘Downton Abbey itself is Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England and it is the home of the current Earl and Countess Carnarvon, descendants of Lord Carnarvon who discovered the famous Tuthamkamuns tomb on Egypt in 1922.The plots for Downtown are carefully written by Julian Fellowes who is also a longstanding friend of the Earl and Countess who must have had Highclere in mind when formulating his new period drama. One of the storylines could not be closer to the truth as the estate was nearly lost when faced with a huge tax bill for death duties after the death of Lord Carnarvon in the 1920’s. The family had to find £500,000 for the estate to survive and did so by having an enormous sale from the house. In today’s money this amount would be £30 million, not a small sum of money then or now!

The series charts the rise and fall of the great and the good of life upstairs and downstairs at Downton and has cleverly introduced the changing times at Downton with events the first series such as the Titanic, the introduction of the motor car, the installation of the first telephone in Downton, changing fashions, politics, women with a voice and Lady Mary becoming involved in the overseeing of the modernisation of the Downton Estate. It was a fact that during this era many of the great families lost their homes due to bankruptcy after the war and as a consequence the estates were broken up and sold or even the houses torn down as they were not financially sustainable anymore. The only way many estates survived was by modernising to become more self-sufficient and generate more income. A good example of which is Chatsworth Estate, in England, the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

However, the series deals with other issues such as class division, delicate information being held in confidence by Anna , ladies maid to Lady Mary, scheming and plotting of Thomas and O’Brian, romance of Mathew and Mary and of course some of the best and wittiest lines of the whole series being delivered by The Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith). Those of you who are addicted to the series will have to wait until December when there will be another Christmas Special episode. For those of you who would like to know more about the history and architecture of Highclere Castle can do so by visiting the homepage:, which provides not only background information about the house but also about Downton.

D. Linsay