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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Downton Abbey: A New Era

I'm sorry I just can't help it. The minute that the theme tune plays and the house looms into view, I get a shiver down my spine. I am unapologetically still in love with Julian Fellowes' sublime creation.

"Do I look like I would turn down a villa in the South of France?"

Yes, Maggie Smith is back. Arguably, it wouldn't be the same Downton without her. And the crew is all here too, doubtless pining for the lack of the phenomenally successful television series, the only thing I made time for. For me, it was the end of regularly scheduled programming. When it was coming on, you damn well sat down to wait for it. It was the last time I ever did such a profoundly outdated thing. Seems apt, when you come to think of it.

Opulent decadence masquerading as plum-tongued monied polite society upstairs, and downstairs, outspoken housekeepers, butlers and cooks preparing to greet the upcoming 1930s with the promise of a film being made at the big house.

So as the film gets underway at Downton, the majority of the family are off to the South of France to have a butchers at a bequeathed villa, with a story that inevitably unfolds as the running time progresses.

One of the most wonderful things about Downton Abbey is that you know exactly what you're getting even before it starts. It's comforting, familiar and unsurprising, save for the odd bout of fireworks that usually take hours upon hours to light. This gives its adoring audience exactly what it wants, even if France is a long way from home.

The performances are excellent and Fellowes' screenplay is as playful and eloquent, as it is delicate and sophisticated. Carry On Abroad it is not when in France, though this does take something away from the encapsulated, sheltered existence of these characters' normal coddled lives. It looks sumptuous and exquisite of course and not for the first time, the franchise has translated effortlessly to the big screen.

Even for those of short attention spans, this is a welcome and cherished stroll down memory lane, and as always, not without its usual brand of twists and turns.


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