As an unapologetic fan of Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith, I quite enjoyed this video compilation of the Dowager Countess’ best burns from all six seasons of Downton Abbey. If you’re having DA withdrawals now that the show is over,1 I encourage you to check out Gosford Park. Robert Altman directed it, Downton creator Julian Fellowes wrote it, and it features Maggie Smith as a snooty Countess — not to mention Clive Owen as a dishy valet. Scrumptious!
Well, almost over in the US..it’s been done in Britain and on the torrents since the start of the year.↩
If you’re having Downton Abbey withdrawals, may I suggest Robert Altman’s Gosford Park? Written by Downton creator Julian Fellowes, it’s a proto-Downton of sorts: lots of upstairs/downstairs with a dash of mystery. And the cast! Clive Owen, Emily Watson, Stephen Fry, Kristin Scott Thomas, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Kelly Macdonald, Helen Mirren, Ryan Phillippe…and Maggie Smith plays a witty countess.
The big one from the charts: Megan gets “a callback for” an audition. This is, the data says, a candidate for the worst anachronism of the season. The word “callback” is about 100x more common by the 1990s, and “callback for” is even worse. The OED doesn’t have any examples of a theater-oriented use of “callback” until the 1970s; although I bet one could find some examples somewhere earlier in the New York theater scene, that may not save it. It wouldn’t really suite Megan’s generally dilettantish attitude towards the theater, or the office staff’s lack of knowledge of it, for them to be so au courant. “call-back” and “call back” don’t seem much more likely.
Downton Abbey fans will note the striking parallels between Almina’s life and that of her fictional counterpart, Lady Cora Crawley. This is hardly an accident: Lady Carnarvon and her husband, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon, affectionately known as Geordie, have been friends with Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes for more than a decade. Though Lady Carnarvon calls Fellowes a “genius,” she’s too involved with the show to call herself a fan. “It’s too much of a bloody muddle,” she says.
…but only in the UK (or to those elsewhere in the world who can use a BitTorrent client). The season will include eight episodes as well as a two-hour Christmas episode.
The first episode will open not with a witty but icy quip from the peerless Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, but with the massive explosion of a shell in the battle of the Somme, where the heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens), is fighting. The drama’s producers hope that the darker wartime storylines, and the aristocratic ensemble dressing down in the “we’re all in it together” clothing of wartime, will not deter the fans.
The US premiere is not until January 2012 (nice poster though). Oh, and Fellowes is already working on storylines for a third season. Yay! (thx meg)
The first season of Downton Abbey, which I highly recommend, is available to watch online for free in two places: on Amazon (for Amazon Prime subscribers) and at Netflix Watch Instantly (for subscribers).