Downton Abbey is a British television period drama series written by Julian Fellowes and produced by Gareth Neame. The first series which aired in 2010 cost an estimated one million pounds per episode. Luckily it became one of Britain’s most successful British period drama with British ratings exceeding 10 million viewers and over 6 million viewers per episode in the United States.
The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, the stately home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham. It follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants starting in 1912 just before the war. This was an interesting period and the series shows the confidence and the power of the late Victorians at that time.
In the first episode, which is set in April 1912, there is news about the death of Lord Grantham’s cousin James Crawley and his son, due to the sinking of the Titanic. As they were the heirs to Downtown Abbey and had no male offspring there begins speculation as to who will become his heir.
The actual series came about when the executive producer Gareth Neame and writer Julian Fellows were working on adaptation of Julian’s novel ‘snobs’. They discussed working on an episodic series set in an Edwardian country house and it grew from there. Julian was the perfect writer as he had always been interested in the way of life of fully staffed housed that were around when his own father was born.
The series set and costumes are pretty lavish and impressive. Filming took place at the beautiful Highclere Castle in Berkshire and the servants living areas were filmed at Ealing Studios, West London. Many outdoor scenes were filmed in the village of Bampton in Oxfordshire. The first series had seven episodes in total, but the coming second series will be composed of eight. The filming began in March this year and will air towards the end of 2011 and will include a Christmas special.
The whole team behind this drama make it what it is today. The cast were chosen very well, writers, makeup articles and they even brought on to set the historical advisor Alastair Bruce who helped the actors with answering questions to help them in their roles. If the second series is received in the same way as the first we can hopefully look forward to a third series being filmed next year.