Conquering the US from across the pond

Close your eyes and picture a camera zooming in on Highclere Castle and then cutting to a service bell downstairs ringing from the Saloon all set to the theme song “Did I Make the Most of Loving You.” The show that immediately burst into your head was “Downton Abbey”, right? If it wasn’t, the phenomenon-of-the-period drama is eagerly awaiting to blow your mind.

Created by Julian Fellowes for BBC, “Downton Abbey” first debuted in the United States in January 2011 on PBS as a part of the Masterpiece Classic. The cast includes Hugh Bonneville,Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens and the one and only Dame Maggie Smith.

The “Downton Abbey” cast poses for the series three promotional photograph. The show airs Sunday nights at 9:00 pm on PBS.
Image courtesy of

The show takes place in 1912, the morning after the Titanic has sunk. From there, the show begins to tell the epic life story of the aristocratic Crawley family, their servants and how the sinking will change their lives forever.

“Downton Abbey” is praised for its wonderful script by Fellowes, which does not allow for one particular person to be the star, but gives enough depth to each character to make them seem as if they were truly real.

The show owes a majority of its success not only to the exceptional script by Fellows, but also to its talented British actors.

“I think our actors have a kind of understanding of period. For Europeans, the past is in them as well as the present and I think they are at ease in that genre in a way that the Americans find harder. I think Americans are wonderful film actors—the best in the world—but they are a very contemporary race and they look forward all the time. There is something about period drama where they tend to go into a strange place called ‘Period’ where people wear funny clothes. Whereas I don’t think our actors do that; they make it very real and that is, with something like we’re doing, very helpful. The cast is so much the main reason for its success” said Fellows in an interview at a creative-content summit in London that was later posted on

Regardless of the nationality of the actors, the show is a major hit on both sides of the pond and is expected to earn high ratings for its third series which started January 6 with Cousin Matthew and Lady Mary finally getting married. And if Cousin Matthew and Lady Mary are foreign characters to you, then you better tune in to PBS on Sunday evening for the remaining six episodes before it’s too late, as it is Cousin Matthew’s, Dan Stevens, last series! And, well, if you don’t tune in, I can only image what Dame Maggie Smith’s character Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham would say: “Why does every day involve a fight with an American?”

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