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Downton Abbey

 

Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship’s domineering, conservative mother, the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwhile, the butler presides over a staff which serves the family, but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants’ quarters, intriguing amongst themselves

 

Directed by:
Written by:
Running Time:
Original Release:
Filming Locations:
Cast & Characters:
Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes
60 Minute Episodes
September 26th, 2010 (UK)
Hampshire, England (Hichclere)
Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Jim Carter (Charles Carson), Brendan Coyle (John Bates)

 

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PRODUCTION NOTES

Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series created by Julian Fellowes and co-produced by Carnival Films and Masterpiece. It first aired on ITV in the United Kingdom on 26 September 2010 and on PBS in the United States on 9 January 2011 as part of the Masterpiece Classic anthology.

The series, set in the Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. Such events depicted throughout the series include news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the first series; the outbreak of World War I, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second series; and the Interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third series.

Downton Abbey has received critical acclaim from television critics and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries. It was recognised by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011. It earned the most nominations of any international television series in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with twenty-seven in total (after two seasons). It was the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS, and subsequently became the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial of Brideshead Revisited. By the third series, it had become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.

The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, the seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V. The first series spanned the two years before the Great War beginning with news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which set the story in motion. The second series covered the years 1916 to 1919, and the 2011 Christmas Special covered the 1919 Christmas period, ending in early 1920. The third series picks up soon thereafter, covering 1920 through the autumn of 1921.

Highclere Castle in Hampshire was used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey and most of the interior filming. The kitchen and servants’ quarters and working areas and several “upstairs” bedrooms were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios.

Highclere Castle, used for interior and exterior filming of Downton Abbey

The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire was used to film outdoor scenes, most notably St Mary’s Church and the library, which served as the entrance to the cottage hospital. First World Wartrench warfare in France was filmed in rural Suffolk near the village of Akenham specially designed for period war scenes.

Many historical locations and aristocratic mansions were used to film various scenes. The fictional Haxby Park, the estate Sir Richard Carlisle intends to buy in Series 2, is part of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. Inveraray Castle doubled as “Duneagle Castle” in the 2012 Christmas special. Greys Court in Oxfordshire was used as the family’s secondary property, into which they proposed moving and calling ‘Downton Place’ due to financial difficulties in the third series. Also in the third series, Bates’ prison scenes were filmed at Lincoln Castle in Lincolnshire. Also in the third series, parts of the servant’s homes were filmed on Matthew Millett’s Grandma’s farm.

The Downton Abbey of the title and setting, though fictional, is described as lying in the historical County of Yorkshire. The towns of Easingwold, Kirkby Malzeard, Kirkbymoorside, Malton,Middlesbrough, Ripon, Richmond, and Thirsk, each mentioned by characters in the series, lie in present-day North Yorkshire, as does the city of York, while Leeds—similarly mentioned—lies inWest Yorkshire; local Yorkshire media speculated the general location of the fictional Downton Abbey to be somewhere in the triangulated area between the towns of Ripon, Thirsk andEasingwold.

Gareth Neame of Carnival Films conceived the idea of an Edwardian-era TV drama set in a country house and approached Fellowes, who had won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) for Gosford Park. Although Fellowes was reluctant to work on another project resembling Gosford, within a few weeks he returned to Neame with an outline of the first series. Fellowes writes the scripts, and his wife Emma is an informal story editor.[13]

The opening theme to Downton Abbey entitled “Did I Make the Most of Loving You?” was composed by John Lunn, and is produced and arranged by Dominik Hauser and runs for thirty-five seconds.The theme was released commercially in both the UK and US on 9 January 2013 by BSX Digital. An extended suite version was released on the soundtrack for the show in 19 September 2011 in the UK and later in the US on 13 December 2011. The soundtrack also included the song performed by singer Mary-Jess Leaverland. According to Lunn, the inspiration for the theme to Downton Abbey came from James Brown.

 

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
American Cinema Editors, USA
2012 Nominated for Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television
American Society of Cinematographers
2012 Nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in One-Hour Episodic/Pilot for Television
Art Directors Guild
2013 Nominated for Excellence in Production Design Award – Episode of a One Hour Single-Camera Television Series
BAFTA Awards
2012 Nominated for Best Costume Design
2012 Best Original Television Music
2012 Best Production Design
2012 Best Supporting Actress
2011 Won for Best Director
2011 Won for Best Sound
2011 Nominated for TV Audience Award
2011 Nominated for Best Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Best Editing
2011 Nominated for Best Photography and Lighting
Banff Television Festival
2011 Won Banff Rockie Award for Best Mini-Series
Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming
2011 Nominated Golden FIPA for TV Series and Serials
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards
2011 Won Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Drama Series
2011 Won Writer’s Award
2011 Nominated for Best Actor (Hugh Bonneville)
2011 Nominated for Best Actress (Maggie Smith)
Costume Designers Guild Awards
2013 Won CDG Award for Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series
2012 Won CDG Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries
Golden Globes
2013 Won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Maggie Smith)
2013 Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Michelle Dockery)
2013 Nominated for Best Television Series – Drama
2012 Won for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
2012 Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor (Hugh Bonneville)
2012 Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress (Elizabeth McGovern)
2012 Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Maggie Smith)
Irish Film and Television Awards
2013 Nominated for Best Supporting Actor TV (Allen Leech)
2012 Nominated for Best Supporting Actor – Television (Brendan Coyle)
Monte-Carlo TV Festival
2013 Nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (Hugh Bonneville)
2013 Nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (Maggie Smith)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (Brendan Coyle)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (Dan Stevens)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (Michelle Dockery)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series (Joanne Froggatt)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding European Producer (Drama Series)
2012 Nominated for Outstanding International Producer (Drama Series)
2011 Nominated for Best European Producer
2011 Nominated for Best International Producer
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series (Hugh Bonneville)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series (Brendan Coyle)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Actress – Drama Series (Maggie Smith)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Actress – Drama Series (Michelle Dockery)
National Television Awards
2013 Won for Most Popular Drama
Ondas Awards
2012 Won for International Television: Best Series
PGA Awards
2013 Nominated for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
2012 Won for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Primetime Emmy Awards
2012 Won for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series
2012 Won for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series
2012 Won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Maggie Smith)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Costumes for a Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Hugh Bonneville)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Michelle Dockery)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Brendan Coyle)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Jim Carter)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Joanne Froggatt)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
2011 Won for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie
2011 Won for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
2011 Won for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
2011 Won for Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie
2011 Won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Maggie Smith)
2011 Won for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Elizabeth McGovern)
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Royal Television Society, UK
2011 Won RTS Craft & Design Award  Best Photography: Drama
2011 Nominated RTS Craft & Design Award  Best Music, Original Titles
2011 Nominated for RTS Television Award  Best Drama Series
Satellite Awards
2012 Won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television (Maggie Smith)
2012 Nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television (Jim Carter)
2012 Nominated for Best Actress in a Series, Drama (Michelle Dockery)
2012 Nominated for Best Television Series, Drama
2011 Nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Hugh Bonneville)
2011 Nominated for Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Elizabeth McGovern)
2011 Nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (Maggie Smith)
2011 Nominated for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Screen Actors Guild Awards
2013 Won for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
2013 Nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (Michelle Dockery)
2013 Nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (Maggie Smith)
2012 Nominated Actor  Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Maggie Smith)
TP de Oro, Spain
2012 Won for Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera)
TV Quick Awards, UK
2012 Nominated for Best Drama Series
2011 Nominated for Best New Drama
Television Critics Association Awards
2012 Won for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials
2012 Nominated for Program of the Year
2011 Nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Mini-Series and Specials
Television and Radio Industries Club Awards
2012 Won TV Drama Programme of the Year
2011 Won TV Drama Programme of the Year

 

LINKS & RESEARCH
Internet Movie Database additional information
12 things you didn’t know about Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey Behind the Scenes