Producido por la ITV, Downton Abbey ha logrado unas cifras de audiencia superiores a los diez millones de espectadores en sus siete episodios y la firma de una segunda temporada. Muy en la línea del clásico de los setenta Arriba y Abajo, pero con la firma de Julian Fellowes, entre otras cosas guionista de Gosford Park ( 2001, Robert Altman ), gira en torno a la lujosa residencia de la familia Crowley y se centra en las vidas de sus residentes, con Lord Grantham a la cabeza, incluido el servicio donde no pueden faltar los inevitables mayordomo y ama de llaves.
Las críticas que llegan del Reino Unido hablan de un brillante producto, muy bien ambientado gracias a un alto presupuesto, y de unos guiones bien cuidados que nos llevan a los primeros años del siglo XX previos a la primera gran guerra. Una época de grandes cambios que la serie logra reflejar perfectamente.
Al frente del reparto la siempre eficiente dama del cine inglés Maggie Smith, y junto a ella Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton y Phyllis Logan.
Ahora sólo cabe esperar en que pronto la podamos ver aquí.
Downton Abbey: Why Sunday nights were made for period dramasMaggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville in a Julian Fellowes period drama? I may have died and gone to Sunday night TV heaven
Oh happy day. Cometh the new television season, cometh the corset. And can there be any more reliable sign that the autumn nights are drawing in than the glorious sight of Dame Maggie Smith in Edwardian mourning weeds?
Sunday night appointment viewing returns this weekend with ITV's lavish new costume drama Downton Abbey. Created, written and exec-produced by Julian Fellowes, it has everything you might expect from the flared nostrils behind Gosford Park: class war, outrage over cutlery confusion and a riot of extravagant Marcel waves – all, glory be, with virtually the same cast as every other costume drama you've ever watched. Think Upstairs, Downstairs meets Lark Rise to Candleford. In other words: British TV heaven.
If you were playing costume drama bingo (and, please, consider it), you'd have a full house by the end of the opening credits. All the regulation elements are here. Conniving under-footman. Wallis Simpson-style American heiress. Bitch-from-hell lady-in waiting. Plump garrulous cook. Skinny garrulous housemaid. Tick, tick, tick. Hurrah! There's even a lame valet with shrapnel in his knee – played with proud understatement by Lark Rise's Brendan Coyle, fast shaping up to be the ultimate period underdog. We can surely rely upon him to weep, nobly and unnoticed, in every episode.
With written-for-TV series such as Downton Abbey we get something new rather than another Austen or Hardy adaptation The main attraction of the likes of Cranford, Lark Rise or Downton Abbey is the balance between expectation and surprise – the stereotypes are just here to make us feel at home. Free of the shackles of a novel's plot, TV period series always swing pleasingly between high camp and melodrama. In Cranford an escaped cow (which heralded Imelda Staunton's unforgettable, shocked "Some ladies are RUNNING!") is as important – if not more important – as the invention of the railway. Similarly, in Downton Abbey we have the household's unease about the newfangled technology — "It is electricity, not the devil's handiwork!" — versus the sinking of the Titanic. I'm with Daisy the kitchen maid: the magic light is scarier because it's in front of you. At least that ship is a long way off.
And the cliches played out in the dialogue are the singularly most enjoyable part of costume drama. His Lordship, impassioned: "This estate is my third parent and my fourth child!" Maggie Smith on her mourning granddaughter's marriage prospects, witheringly: "No one wants to kiss a gal in black." Downton Abbey has one bonus after another, culminating in an end scene where Penelope Wilton suddenly pops up, pearls a-quiver over an unexpected breakfast telegram. What more could anyone want from a Sunday night?