Saturday, 26 December 2015

Downton Abbey ~~~ No Spoilers ~~~ Just That Life Will Never Be The Same Again

Gentle Reader ~~~ I am suffering from media emptiness, but please, be assured, this does not contain any Season Six spoilers, and I ask of my British readership, should you choose to  leave a comment, please respect that many of the readers are international and have not yet seen Season Six of our beloved Downton Abbey, so do not leave any spoilers.

It is over. How did this ever happen? Five blissful years of an Autumn series followed by the Christmas Special each December and now it is ended.

I know there will be those out there who could not give a fig, but I feel as if I have lost a very dear and old friend.

The last time I had such a feeling of media emptiness was at the close of the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and {which brought to our attention the incomparable} Colin Firth.  As a nation, man, woman and child, sat glued to their television sets every Sunday afternoon, week after week, greedily devouring each riveting episode. Who will ever forget the 'wet shirt' scene of Mr Darcy emerging from the lake at Pemberley?  Up off your fainting couches ladies!

The questions that burned on my lips then were, "What was going to fill Sunday afternoons?" and "Would we ever find anything to replace it in our viewing pleasure?"

Time passed and programmes came and programmes went. Occasionally, a little nugget or gem showed promise, but nothing came close to rivalling the on~screen miseries and tensions of the Bennett family and Mrs Bennett's mission to secure successful marriages for all her daughters.  Until, five oh! too short years ago, on September 26th 2010, a new programme emerged, and overnight the void left by Pride and Prejudice was filled with a new addiction ~~~ Downton Abbey.  It came with much hype and hoopla, with many lavish trailers and teasers, and again a nation sat glued and waiting for the start.  I believe I was hooked before it actually aired and when Series One ended I could barely wait for Season Two, but thankfully there are such things as re~runs and dvds with which to occupy the time.

So, Autumn after Autumn, already my favourite time of year, had an added attraction to fill the cooler Sunday evening as the nights drew in as a nation, and later the world, tuned in to ITV3 for an hour of pure delight as we watched the lives of the Crawley family and their servants unfold with drama, elegance, wit, injustices and hardships, and the acerbic one liners of the Dowager Countess played by the indomitable force of stage and screen, Dame Maggie Smith.

I don't have to tell you any more about it, for, like Marmite, you either love it or hate it,  If you hate it, you will not be reading this; if you love it you are a kindred and understand. If you have never heard of it, where have you been? Dvd sets are available on Amazon and I believe there is something called Netflix.

I lived, blissfully, in Cloud Cuckoo Land, never thinking that Downton Abbey could ever end. Then, one painful day reality struck as I read an article in which Kilwillie {aka Julian Fellowes} announced that it would end. He did not see how it could be otherwise and he certainly did not want it to become Emmerdale, which, as he said, would be the only possible route given the historic changes to the aristocracy and their homes, especially after the Second World War.  In some ways I understood what he was saying. In others I just wished he could keep spinning it out, forever, as we took our weekly voyage of insight into the lives above and below stairs in a world mostly long passed from existence. It was a comfortable part of my life, something I could dip in and out of and feel as if I belonged, had never left, like meeting that old friend who you haven't seen for years yet slip comfortably back into conversation with as if you had never been apart.

Resigned, I hoped for a few more years, but no. We were already at the end of Season Four, and eventually it was leaked that there would be two more series at most. Pass the tissues.

And so, it came to pass that, last night, Christmas 2015, just over five years since the first blissful episode arrived on our screens, Downton Abbey left with hype and anticipation just as it came into our lives.  Yes, we can watch, and re~watch each treasured episode over and again, revelling in it as and when we please, but nothing will ever replace the anticipation of what will happen next in each of the story lines and threads; the reaction to the beautifully acerbic one liners from the Dowager; Carson's raised eyebrow of disapproval. Will Barrow ever get his comeuppance? Will Tom ever fit in? Will Bates' conviction be overturned and justice served? Who will be the next love interests of the bickering sisters Lady Mary and Lady Edith, and will either ever find happiness again?

~~~ not to mention, how brilliant the make up was. How different the characters look in reality, Mrs Patmore, Mrs Hughes, Dr Carson, and Daisy to name just a few, who are unrecognisably transformed from their real selves by make up  ~~~

~~~ and the costumes and cars ~~~ sighs ~~~ I was born in the wrong era ~~~ of this I am unquestionably certain ~~~

I now wait with eager anticipation for my American friends to see Season Six. It isn't long now, and then I won't have to keep quiet any longer ~~~

For many of us, media emptiness descends, and life after Downton Abbey will never be the same, so now we must wait and see what comes next, if anything can, for these are awfully big shoes to fill ~~~


Until next time

Sincerely yours
Deborah











26 comments:

  1. Spending Christmas in England (from US). Saw the last showing of Downton yesterday....now I have to go back to watch the start of the season on Jan3 when I get home! I know how it ends...just got to catch up on the start! Yes, it was terrific! The costumes alone were TONS of work!

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    1. Oh, what a thrill for you, it must have been! I hope the seeing the ending hasn't spoiled things for you, and I do also hope you had a wonderful trip to England/Great Britain.

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  2. I think I quit watching after the second season because our station started running it an hour later--my bedtime! But I AM interested in what has happened to the characters, so will look forward to when you can talk about it.

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    1. How inconsiderate of them! Time to write a letter of protest! Maybe now they see the popularity they will change their minds. It is worth watching if only for the costumes.

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  3. Dear Deborah, I feel exactly the same way as you do. We have watched and re-watched each of the series until our DVD's are practically worn through! I have always felt as if I were among friends, too, and can pick it up anywhere and feel like I'm there taking part in their lives, visiting for tea or dinner, discussing the affairs of their everyday lives. I am waiting with mixed emotions! I cannot wait for season 6 to begin on January 3rd, but I also am bracing myself and have boxes of Kleenex ready! I don't know which is harder. For us, over here, waiting, waiting. . . or for you having to keep from talking about it until we've seen it! Well, as you say, it won't be long. I have all the seasons on DVD and my Season 6 is on order to be sent as soon as the series begins on TV. I don't think I have ever seen anything like the wide range of people who adore this program. Whether low on the totem pole or royalty, mentioning Downton is an immediate conversation opener! From the clerk in the grocery store, to the President of the bank, to the stranger in Starbucks, once mention DA and you are instant friends! You are absolutely right. These are very big shoes to fill indeed. And I'm so glad I was here watching, when it came along! By the way, different subject: I have soo enjoyed the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar as I'm sure you have, too. It just ended in such a sweet and complete way!! They do an outstanding job. Love, Jane xoxo

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  4. Oh what have I missed - never seen a single episode - ever. Now it's gone and I shall never know...................

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  5. I thought of you, Deb, on Christmas night. For I knew that you would be watching Downton Abbey... and being so good about keeping secrets for the next few months! Most of my friends here in the Midwest and in Europe are not watching Downton Abbey. So it makes me really happy to find Kindreds, who look forward to sharing our Sunday nights gathered together (across the miles) by the Crawley family. Haven't the past five years just flown by? Sending hugs, dear Deb! ♡

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  6. You have written such a memorable tribute to my favorite show. The new and last season will begin the first week of January. I'm transported to a different world each Sunday evening. I'm sad that it will soon end. My best to you, Pat

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    1. Thank you! I think it is the top favourite of many.

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  7. We have just finished Season 6 here in New Zealand and now waiting for the Christmas Special to be screened soon. Feeling so sad that the end is nigh! I just want it to go on forever...every week a little more of the story coming to life. So wonderful in every way.

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    1. Ah, so you are just a tiny way behind? I wonder if it was only shown on Christmas Day in the UK? Oh, Downton forever would be so grand!

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  8. We loved watching it, it is refreshing to have something other than police and hospital dramas as we don't watch any soaps. The line from the Dowager that I found most musing was when she said,"Weekends what our weekends?" Being retired I empathise with that statement now.
    I do wish TV channels though would stop showing trailers that give away much of the plot of any series that they are showing it is the most annoying trying to dodge the trailers.

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    1. I hear you on the spoiler trailers, but our friends elsewhere in the world have had to avoid spoilers for many weeks. I don't know how they do it! I don't watch soaps either. Unless you count Neighbours which I class as a comedy show!

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  9. Looking forward to the new (to us) season starting in January here in Canada. There was talk of a new show starting after Downton Abbey finished about the early life of Queen Victoria. Has that happened?

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    1. I've heard, but not seen any more beyond the rumour. Also, the rumour that there may be a feature length film.

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  10. I will join you soon and be among those who will morn the loss of Downton Abbey, dear Deb! It has been my all time favorite series! I am in disbelief it is the last season. Please say it isn't so! We must join each other and travel to another time where we belong!!! xoxo ♥

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    1. How I wish I could tell you it isn't so. I'm already there! You still have Season Six to see!

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  11. I know how you feel! I cant believe there wont be any more Downton after this series....Im very curious about what Julian Fellowe's next projects will be. I find the idea of a Downton set during WWII with the kids all grown up to be very intriguing! Not sure that would ever happen though. Such a good show!~! Will miss it!

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    1. I think Mr JF deserves a well earned break, but he'd better come back with something really good very soon.

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  12. While you're finished watching Season Six, I'll start Season One because I don't have subscription television. However, I do have the first Five Seasons on DVD...JOY! I'm not sure I'll ever tire of watching Downton Abbey because I never completely catch what they're saying anyway.
    Happy New Year to you and yours; may you celebrate in good health and happiness.

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    1. Thank you, and to you and yours too. Yes, thank goodness for dvd's and re~runs!

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments