September 27, 2015

Downton Abbey 6 Episode 2

Downton Abbey series 6 episode 2 recap: The politics of wedding planning, pigs and posh doctors

Old storylines rear their muck-covered heads this week. The pigs are back and with them the Drewes. And, Carson realises that, while the sexy stuff might be sorted, his impending nuptials are going to be far from plain sailing...
The wedding night is all in order (though presumably never ever to be spoken of again) and Carson and Mrs Hughes have picked a date for their much-anticipated 'I do's. But the duo are yet to decide on a reception venue. Robert suggests they blow up a few balloons in the Servant's Hall, but Hughes is keen to escape her work place for their day in the lime light, suggesting the hugely sophisticated school house instead. 
Meanwhile Mary is championing women's rights, leaving poor farmer Finch flabbergasted when he comes to meet Downton's agent and finds himself face-to-face with a Lady. "It's a changing world," he stutters before propositioning her to produce a pair of prize porkers for a local Fat Stock Show. She smirks and says she'll see what her pig man can do. 
Downstairs, Mrs Patmore shocks Daisy when she admits she's considering purchasing horseradish in a jar and Thomas wanders around the hallways highlighting the uselessness of an under butler.
Robert arranges a meeting with Violet, Isobel and Clarkson to try and sort out this whole hospital business before blood is spilled. Code for: before he gets fatally caught between his wife and mother-in-law. But it seems the battle is too far advanced and no one is willing to retreat. 
Mr Moseley heads into the village to speak to the new schoolmaster about furthering Daisy's education. He returns with a pile of practise exam papers but the kitchen maid is more concerned about Mr Mason, who is facing destitution after her hot-headed outburst at Mallerton - and maths takes a backseat. 
Upstairs, Lady Edith simply can't get her Editor under control. It would appear the idea of a geographically distant female boss repulses him so she decides she simply must go to London to confront him face-to-face. The telephone is for making dinner arrangements after all, not raising one's voice. 
Mary almost immediately announces plans to take George and Marigold to inspect Mr Drewe's pigs in the morning to pick Fat Stock for the Show. Edith barely conceals her panic at her "charming bastard" coming into such close contact with her former-foster parents. But once plans are made they cannot be unmade and so she heads off to the Big Smoke nonetheless. 
The farm trip almost goes off without a hitch, with Cora keeping an eye on Marigold in Edith's stead, until Mrs Drewe appears unannounced in the pig barn. She clearly, and unsurprisingly, still harbours feelings for the child she looked after from birth. Cora and Mr Drewe exchange panicked looks while Mary attempts to care less. 
At the Abbey, Anna is snivelling over the shoes again. Must be something in the polish. She's told Mary about her struggles to conceive and the conversation has sprung fresh tears. "You're married, that means you never have to cry alone again," says Bates, while a thousand Downton fans ponder this pessimistic and worrying definition of matrimony. 
Never one to give in easily, Mary decides to launch an investigation into Anna's woes. She books an appointment with her own fancy baby doctor and the pair head off to London under the pretence of purchasing new hats. Anna frets about the cost of such medical extravagance, but Mary replies, "You’ve certainly earned it for keeping my secrets" before giggling about the night Anna dragged Pamuk's lifeless body out of her bedroom. Glad to see his untimely death has become something of an in-joke at the Abbey.
The trip produces good news. Anna has a condition which is causing her to miscarry, but it's perfectly treatable. She must just return to the posh doc if and when Bates next gets a bun in her oven. 
Back in Yorkshire, Thomas interviews for an Assistant Butler job at a local hall and discovers Downton is rather more behind the times than they realized while Mary meddles further in Carson and Hughes' affairs, suggesting, in a demanding kind of way, that they simply must have their reception in Downton's Grand Hall. Carson obviously can't say no to his beloved Mary and Hughes is visibly annoyed. She is the bride and it is, after all, her wedding. "The wedding day is mine," she spits, mid pout. Carson is so perturbed he doesn't know what to do with his face. 
Cora is still concerned about Mrs Drewe and Marigold so Robert pops down to their farm to suggest it might be time to move on. A century or two is enough on one piece of land, surely? Drewe insists he can keep his emotional wife under control - and therefore his home - and the matter is shelved just in time for the Fat Stock Show. 
Luckily, the muddy affair takes everyone's minds off their woes. The staff play skittles while Mary makes a convincing pig breeder in a brown dress and frumpy tie. Her porkers take first place and the whole gang shout "Hurrah!" 
All is well, until Mrs Hughes notices that little Marigold has gone missing. Mrs Margie Drewe, who was there for a jolly day out too, has also disappeared. And Mr Drewe suspects he knows what's happened. 
A tearful Edith heads over to the farm with Robert and Cora where Marigold is found, safe, sound and being sung to by Margie. The child is returned to Edith and Mr Drewe concedes that perhaps it is time to leave the Abbey's estate after all. 
The family will help in any way they can, but "it’s a poor return for what you and Mrs Drewe have done for us", says Robert, in the understatement of the century.
This unfortunate turn of events might have a silver lining though. We're speculating here, but could Daisy's Mr Mason just have found a handy new home?

September 23, 2015

Although the majority of scenes are filmed at Highclere Castle, the kitchen and servants' quarters in the estate have been modernized - so the Downton Abbey servants have to go to London to shoot their scenes in a separate studio.

Highclere isn’t just famous for being Downton Abbey - it was also hired for the interior location in Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s film Eyes Wide Shut and the exterior was used for 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. 

According to Jessica Fellowes' book The World Of Downton Abbey - which gives fans an insight into the show and the period in which it was set - the acclaimed TV series costs an average of £1 million per episode to produce.

Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham) and Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham) have actually played on-screen spouses before.  The couple were also man and wife in the earlier TV movie Thursday The 12th as well as the TV series Freezing.

Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) trained as a ballet dancer and was invited to dance with the Russian Kirov Ballet Company when she was 15 years old, but was forced to switch to acting after ankle surgery ended her dancing career.

While Julian Fellowes and the producers of the show held auditions to cast most of the characters, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle and Maggie Smith’s roles were actually written specifically for them - so it was a good job they agreed to play the parts!

Former X-Files star Gillian Anderson reportedly turned down the part of Lady Grantham, Lord Robert Crawley’s American heiress wife. The part ended up going to Elizabeth McGovern instead.

Although a number of female celebrities have confessed to being massive fans of Downton Abbey  there are also unexpected male stars who never miss an episode. Gary Oldman has proclaimed his love of the show, as has George Clooney and Harrison Ford - he even asked Julian Fellowes for a cameo role!

September 22, 2015

Downton Abbey 6 - Best Quotes from Episode ONE

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Downton Abbey Team Reveals Series Finale Guest, Talks 'Emotional' Ending

September 20, 2015

Downton Abbey - Season SIX - Episode ONE

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Watch by clicking

HERE for part ONE and HERE for part TWO

The moment every Downton Abbey fan has been dreading has sadly arrived. The period drama has debuted the first episode of its final season and while the premiere was lifted by the dry humour viewers have become fond of, it is hard to ignore the tinges of melancholy laced throughout.

With season six of the ITV series being the last fans will see of the complicated Crawley family, the question looms: What is the future looking like for the residents of Downton Abbey and their employees? Frankly, pretty uncertain. Set in 1925, the socio-economic horizon is rapidly changing with technological advances – the introductions of hair dryers and fridges – and the accessibility of education for the underprivileged.

Not everyone is adjusting to the changes. Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) has her eyes wide open and is taking charge of the dire finances of the family's estate – a stark difference to how her father, Earl Of Grantham Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), is handling the austerity.
The reality of their situation dawns on Lord Grantham and the rest of the aristocratic family when their neighbour, unable to maintain their property and its staff, is forced to put their sprawling Mallerton estate up for auction. Of course, this puts the jeepers into the downstairs employees at Downton who begin hearing whispers of job cuts.
Perhaps fitting with the finality of the series, Lady Mary's nonchalant attitude is surprising when she is blackmailed by a woman who witnessed her weekend of fun with Lord Gillingham. Robert's eldest daughter just can not be bothered to entertain the opportunist but it also signals everything winding down at Downton. After all the chaos and heartache, Lady Mary simply refuses to bring more drama into her life.
ITV - Downton Abbey - Edith and RobertWhile the widow spurns any potential problems from the offset, lady's maid Anna can not help but think cynically even after she is rightfully cleared of murdering Mr Green. It should be a fresh start for Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) but the couple are now struggling to conceive. Will they ever get their happy ending?
However, it is not all doom and gloom in Downton. The episode is relieved with light moments of humour courtesy of Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson (Jim Carter), who resemble awkward teenagers when trying to approach the subject of sex ahead of their wedding. Mrs Hughes is worried about consummating their marriage having waited all her life to find "Mr right" and enlists cook Mrs Patmore to have "the talk" with her fiance on her behalf. Watching elderly – and experienced – people fumble around the topic of intimacy is already a favourite moment of the season.

ITV - Downton Abbey - Andy and DaisyMeanwhile, Daisy is transforming into quite the empowered female, furthering her education and becoming increasingly outspoken by challenging authority. Not a soul in Downton can escape the changes in society but as series six progresses, it will be interesting to see who swims with the tide and who struggles against the waves of change.

Whatever dramas the family and employees are embroiled in, the big question always boils down to love and romance. It remains unanswered, but Lady Mary makes it very clear that finding a new husband is the last thing on her mind as she states dryly: "I'd rather be single." Something suggests this mindset will not last very long.
Downton Abbey returns with episode two on 27 September.


1. Which character did we see, sitting on a train, in the very first scenes of the first episode of series one?
a) John Bates, Lord Grantham’s valet
b) Matthew Crawley, the heir to the title
c) William, the second footman

2. Which of these images does NOT appear in the opening credits?
a) A bell ringing in the pantry
b) A dinner table being set
c) A maid going upstairs
d) A mantelpiece being dusted

3. Which bond, in their earlier lives, links Mr Bates to Lord Grantham, both pictured right?
a) Bates was Grantham’s beagler at Eton
b) He was his batman in the Boer War
c) He was his scout at Oxford University

4. Lord Grantham’s dogs, above – may they rest in peace – were given Egyptian names. What were they – and which is which? 

5. The dead Turkish ambassador Kemal Pamuk is carried from Lady Mary’s bed. But who are the mystery people bearing the body? 

6. Lady Mary gave Matthew Crawley a memento to treasure before he went to war. Which of the following images is that gift? 
1 AND 2 
3 AND 4


7. Which of these quotes is NOT one of the exquisite lines said by Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess?

'No one wants to kiss a girl in black'
'That woman speaks 18 languages and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them'
'What is a weekend?'
'I have plenty of friends I don’t like'
'No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house'
'Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle-class' 


8. What is Mrs Patmore’s first name?
a) Ivy 
b) Beryl
c) Violet 
d) Chardonnay

9 What is Carson the butler’s most embarrassing secret?
a) He wears bloomers under his uniform
b) He once ran a seaside boarding house
c) He was in a music-hall act called the Cheerful Charlies

10. What stood out about Jack Ross, the character played by Gary Carr in series four?
a) He was the first openly gay character in Downton Abbey
b) He was the first black character
c) He was the first Labour-voting character

11. Before Carson proposed, he asked Mrs Hughes if she would join him in a venture to buy a cottage together. Eventually, she was forced to confess that she had no money. Why?
a) She had spent all her savings on medical bills when she had a cancer scare
b) She had lent money to Ethel, the housemaid who fell pregnant
c) She had spent her money caring for a sick sister

12. Which crime did Mr Green commit?
a) He killed the Turkish ambassador
b) He raped Anna Bates
c) He framed John Bates for the theft of one of His Lordship’s snuff boxes
d) He murdered Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe 


13. When the servants formally greet arriving guests outside the house, they are placed in order of social hierarchy. Name the staff member, below, and their job title – then place them, from top down, in their pecking order.

A and B 

C and D

E and F

G and H
I and J

14. Why does a footman iron His Lordship’s newspapers?
a) To dry the ink
b) To flatten them so they fold up easily
c) To make them warmer to the touch
d) Because Carson, left, says so

15. On which occasions do we see Downton’s footmen wearing white gloves?
a) Every time they go above stairs.
b) Only when serving at table
c) When answering the front door
d) When refereeing a billiards match


16. The below-stairs scenes are filmed at:
a) Ealing Studios
b) Highclere Castle
c) Pinewood Studios
d) 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey

17. There was a furor in the fourth series when Julian Fellowes was (falsely) accused of including an inappropriate phrase. What was it?
a) You’re having a laugh
b) Steep learning curve
c) You’re completely out of order
d) Thunderbirds are go!

18. According to executive producer Gareth Neame, which shocking new development will occur at the house in the final season?
a) It will be opened to the public
b) It will be converted into a boarding school
c) It will be sold to a rich industrialist

19. Which inappropriate object appeared in a promotional photograph of Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael in character as Lord Grantham and Lady Edith?
a) An iPhone
b) A bottle of mineral water
c) A packet of chewing gum d) A DVD of the BBC’s Poldark

20. Julian Fellowes was accused of stealing a plot for a scene in the first series from an old film – when the Dowager Countess decides at the last minute not to award the prize for best roses to her own gardener but to give it to Bill Molesley, Mr Molesley’s father. What was the film?
a) Rebecca (1940), starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier
b) Mrs Miniver (1942), starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon
c) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), starring Danny Kaye and Boris Karloff

21. Dan Stevens, below, quit the role of Matthew Crawley in 2012 to try for a career in Hollywood. He is currently working on a star role in a movie musical that suggests he may succeed. Is he…
a) Bert, in a new version of Mary Poppins
b) Mr Mistoffelees, in a new version of Cats
c) The Beast, in a new version of Beauty And The Beast

22. The mistress of Downton Abbey is American-born Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham. What was her maiden name?
a) Robinson
b) Stevenson
c) Levinson



23. Match each of the plot devices to their key elements:
i) What Lady Edith inherited from her lover Michael Gregson
ii) The evidence Lady Mary threw in the fire that could have proved Bates’s innocence of the murder of Mr Green
iii) The disastrous purchase that almost bankrupted Lord Grantham
iv) The intricacies of which Mrs Patmore explained to Lady Sybil, to help her contribute to the war effort
v) What Mr Bates was accused of stealing by Thomas and O’Brien, which they had, in fact, set up


a) Shares in The Grand Trunk Railway
b) A cup of tea
c) An antique snuff box
d) A train ticket from York to London
e) A London flat and a magazine, The Sketch

24. How did Lady Rose, left, originally meet her husband, Atticus Aldridge?
a) At her ‘coming out’ ball
b) Coming out of a cake shop in York
c) Through the small ads in the post office window
d) Through an impromptu game of croquet
Can you work out who seduced whom? You can only match one character from the first list with one character from the second.


25.  Can you work out who seduced whom?You can only match one character from the first list with one character from the second

ii) Lady Edithi) Thomas, the footman
iii) The Dowager Countess
iv) Lady Anstruther
v) Lady Mary, right


a) The Duke of Crowborough
b) Handsome Turkish diplomat Kemal Pamuk c) Jimmy Kent, an ambitious footman
d) Farmer Drake
e) Igor Kuragin


Question 1. Answer: a) Bates
Q2. d) But a chandelier is dusted
Q3. b) His batman in the Boer War
Q4. Isis (pictured left, covered in a blanket) and Pharaoh (right)
Q5. Maid Anna (left) and Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
Q6. 2) The toy dog
Q7. That woman speaks 18 languages (it was Dorothy Parker)
Q8. b) Beryl
Q9. c) He was in a music hall act
Q10. b) The first black character
Q11. c) Caring for a sick sister
Q12. b) He raped Anna Bates
Q13. (In order, most important first) (F) Mr Carson, butler/ (G) Mrs Hughes, housekeeper/ (H) Mrs Patmore, cook/ (I) Mr Barrow, under butler/ (A) Mr Bates, valet to the Earl/ (E) Miss Baxter, lady’s maid to the Countess/ (B) Anna Bates, lady’s maid to Lady Mary/ (C) Mr Molesley, first footman/ (D) Daisy Mason, assistant cook/ (J) Ivy Stuart, kitchen maid
Q14. a) To dry the ink
Q15. b) Only when serving at table – to protect plates and glasses
Q16. a) Ealing Studios – Highclere no longer has below-stairs quarters
Q17. b) (First used in1885)
Q18. a) Opened to the public
Q19. b) A bottle of mineral water
Q20. b) Mrs Miniver. Julian says of the accusation it was not at all intentional but having watched the film since, he understands why people might think it.
Q21. c) The Beast
Q22. c) Levinson
Q23. i-e/ ii-d/ iii-a/ iv-b/ v-c
Q24. b) Coming out of a cake shop
Q25. i-a; ii-d; iii-e; iv-c; v-b

Quiz from