The first thing we see is the wagging tail of a dog and the back of a man walking. It is a 36 second opening of the fabulous television show, Downton Abbey. The theme music by John Lunn, sets the mood for a classy and original experience for the viewers. I have gone to Youtube many times to play this piece of music…it is the perfect pairing of music and story.

By now, everyone knows about the mass appeal of this series. I have received numerous emails from American friends who were watching season two only a few months ago. We saw the show last fall and it was very hard to watch the Christmas episode, as we knew we would have to wait almost a year before the next season. Over 100 countries have the rights to Downton Abbey, some have shown it with subtitles, but it also has been dubbed  into many languages.

Season one was set in 1912 and second season was in 1916. The third season will be all about the roaring twenties and will begin a few months after the Christmas episode ends. By now you have heard that Shirley MacLaine will be playing Cora’s mother—Martha Levinson. There was much talk about this casting as it was said they wanted a strong woman to stand up to Violet (Maggie Smith). When I was reading the publicity about this casting, I kept imagining Shirley and Maggie wearing boxing gloves or having Lord Grantham yelling “take it outside, ladies!” Maybe the writers will surprise us, and these two characters will actually get along. I would guess that would make a pretty dull show. And can you really see Violet being happy with an American coming to their very British little corner of the world? By the way, our son believes the most famous thing that Maggie Smith has ever done is be in the Harry Potter films. When I told him that she is one of the greatest actresses of our time and has been acting for 50 years, he looked stunned and said “really?!”

The additional news about season three is that there are some new characters added to the staff:

  • Alfred, the new footman and be prepared…he is O’Brien’s nephew
  • Ivy, the new kitchen maid
  • Miss Reed, the lady’s maid for Martha Levinson

But these are the things that I have been wondering about—

Will Thomas become Lord Grantham’s valet now that Mr. Bates is making wooden license plates for carriages? I am afraid he will be and I hate the idea of this guy slithering back into the household. But at the same time, he sure is fun to hate.

Whenever O’Brien shows up, I always hear the music from Jaws playing in the background. I wonder if she and Thomas will be as tight as they once were. And how does it change things for her to have her nephew there?

Will Daisy get the big promotion she was whining about at the end of season two? Someone please make her the assistant cook or Chef Boyardee…just give her the job, so she can finally stop talking about William and their quickie marriage.

Will Lady Mary and Matthew be dating? Now that Matthew’s legs are working again, he might be ready for a little hubba hubba and that makes me wonder if there is a wedding  by the end of the season. Lady Mary has put Turkey behind her, but she knows she needs to have a ring on her finger.

Will Patrick Crawley, the missing heir, make an appearance? Will we find out if he survived his trip on the Titanic by finding a seat on a lifeboat or hitching a ride with Kate Winslet on that floating door?

Finally, who killed Vera Bates? I think there would have been a petition from the audience to have her killed if she had not died. Did she commit suicide? The bottom line is that we love Mr. Bates and want him back. If he is coming back, which I assume he is, then how can he be set free? Will someone else confess? Is Vera really dead? On American shows, the dead pop up all the time…sometimes they are in the shower for a year, but they do return.

No matter what the answers are to these questions, I simply cannot wait for the fall of 2012 when we can see this marvelous series again (in America, the new season will air in early 2013…sorry). I will leave you with a little bit of trivia….

What is the name of Lord Grantham’s dog? This is a tricky question as there are two answers. In the first season, the dog’s name was Pharaoh and in season two, it was Isis. Why the change? The dog that was in season one did not get along with the dogs who really lived at Highclere Castle (the film location of the series), so they had to replace him. Show business can be brutal sometimes and the lesson here is “it pays to get along”.

For those of you who are trying to find ways to entertain yourself while you wait for season three, why don’t you have a Dame Maggie Smith film festival? Here are just a few of my favorite Maggie performances:

  • The prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  • A room with a view
  • California Suite
  • Sister Act
  • Gosford Park
  • Tea with Mussolini

And coming to a theatre near you….

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel—this is her newest film and it also stars another actor from DA—Matthew’s mother, actress Penelope Wilton.

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  • Jane Moore Houghton  On April 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you Lady Jane – that was great!
    We really have to wait until next winter to see season three???! Another reason to come visit you sooner rather than later 🙂 xo

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