Each week, dashfun.net looks back on the secrets of a cult series. Spotlight today on the historic “Downton Abbey” series. A delight to stroll through the six seasons in the floors where the masters reign and to explore the basements where the servants live!
Back in the years 1910/1920
Created by Julian Fellowes, Downton abbey lift the veil on the intimacy of a fictional English aristocratic family, led by Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith). We also follow the daily life of the servants working in the basements of the English castle, nicely titled Downton abbey. As a reminder, the plot of the first season begins on April 15, 1912, the day of the sinking of the Titanic. The heirs who perished during the shipwreck, the title of Earl of Grantham, the estate and the family fortune must pass entirely to a male heir.
Lord Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Lady Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) have no sons. Their three daughters Mary (Michelle Dockery), Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) cannot claim the title or inheritance. The distant cousin Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), lawyer and son of Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton), is therefore designated as new heir. He is arriving at Downton abbey or very strict rules govern life between aristocrats and servants. A whole new lifestyle is offered to him …
The royal family of England followed the series
Real commercial success, Downton abbey has been recognized by the Guinness World Records like most critically acclaimed English-language series of 2011. The program has indeed received the highest critical ratings in the world for a television show. It is therefore adorned with all its qualities that Downton abbey was also able to seduce the royal family of England. Kate Middleton was invited to the film set in March 2015 in order to pay a little visit to the actors. A day at the studios Ealing which the Duchess of Cambridge, then pregnant with Princess Charlotte, took full advantage of. The interpreter of Edith Crawley, Laura Carmichael, had thus confided:
It was both a surreal and exciting experience to be at work and to receive a visit from a member of the royal family. She watches the show and loves it. It’s really adorable!
Queen Elizabeth II also followed the history of the Crawley family with assiduity as she was able to appreciate the intrigue. Buckingham Palace has thus vibrated to the rhythm of the evolution of masters and their servants, with Elsie Hughes (Phyllis Logan), Charles Carson (Jim Carter), John Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) at the top. As Brian Hoey, author of the book explained “At Home With The Queen” to the American media People, it pleased the sovereign to note the different anachronisms. Mistakes often inevitable in the context of a historical series …
She loves to spot small mistakes. They are rarely wrong, but the Queen noticed that in one episode a young British officer wears medals which could not be awarded to him. He fought in WWI and wears decorations that were not introduced until WWII.
A hell of a lynx’s eye, coupled with a sharp historian!
One million euros per episode
Between sumptuous decorations and period costumes present on the screen, the production of Downton abbey requested a substantial budget. It’s in his book “The World of Downton Abbey” that Jessica Fellowes, the niece of the creator, confided that each episode of the program cost approximately one million euros. The price of realism in short, to which was added the essential equipment for filming such a monumental historical fiction.
Representations of even the British aristocracy of the time, the comedians could not decently wear basic costumes. This is why the clothes and accessories have been carefully selected. Some have also been made from scratch in order to offer spectators perfect credibility. The five main female characters who received no less than 1280 outfits throughout the program, it is easy to imagine the titanic work done on the outfit side.
Maggie Smith refused to see herself on screen
The must-see Dowager Countess of Grantham Maggie Smith was unwilling to watch Downton abbey while the series was still filming. Indeed, the British actress feared she would not appreciate her on-screen performance. Hard to believe, and yet … The latter did not want the fact of seeing herself playing risk influencing her …