Set in the post-Edwardian era, Downton Abbey is a British period drama that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley Family and the servants who work for them. There are many reasons why viewers were drawn to this large-scale production—the incredible setting, the detail given to period accuracy, and the phenomenal script and dialogue, which gave the characters individuality and depth.
This show has earned a plethora of nominations and awards, both in the UK and internationally, and it was bittersweet to see the ending after six strong seasons. But there's good news! Downton Abbey is returning this month as a feature-length film, and the story’s central plot will revolve around a visit from King George V and Queen Mary. I’m certainly one viewer who will be making her way to the cinema!
As you’re waiting for the U.S. release date (September 20), here are just a few of my favorite reads and DVDs that explore all things Downton to keep you entertained:
- Downton Abbey, Season One DVD
Relive the show, or if you’re new to Downton, check out the first season, which is set around the sinking of the Titanic and its effects on the Crawley Family.
- At Home at Highclere by Fiona Carnarvon
Highclere is the actual estate in which Downton is set. Lady Carnarvon shares its rich history, including an amazing collection of photographs.
- Downton Abbey: Rules for Household Staff by Justyn Barnes
The rules are extensive and the staff are dedicated to carrying out their duties. I certainly couldn’t manage it (mostly because I couldn’t remember all of them!).
- The Manners of Downton Abbey DVD
This documentary explores what went into ensuring historical accuracy, all the way down to the representation of a lady’s gloves—when she was to wear them and when it was acceptable to take them off!
- Downton Abbey: A Celebration by Jessica Fellows
This book accompanies the entire Downton series, from its start in 1912 to the final farewell in 1925.
- Secrets of Highclere Castle DVD
Can’t get to England for a visit to Highclere? This DVD will take you through the estate’s rich history—it’s like getting your own personal tour!
Forthcoming Items (What I’ve placed a hold on!):
Including 100 recipes, this is an authentic “slice” of Downton life.
- Downton Abbey: The Official Film Companion by Julian Fellowes and Emma Marriott Interviews, photographs, behind-the-scenes on set—what's not to love!
It seems fitting to end with a quote from Downton’s Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham: “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.”
Enjoy the look into the post-Edwardian period of Downton Abbey. Oh, how life has changed!
Information and Readers Services Department