It doesn't happen that often in my opinion, but ITV have done themselves proud in the Sunday evening TV stakes recently. I'm referring to their latest costume drama, Downton Abbey.
Normally Sunday evening costume drama has been the main output from BBC1. Their recent offerings have included Larkrise to Candleford, and Cranford. It's now good to see that ITV can also put out a high quality drama that we can all escape with. The programme fills that evening where you just want to relax with a nice cup of tea and a few biscuits to watch something that won't be too taxing.
For the older people around us, just think 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and you'll have the story. Downton Abbey shows the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them.
It's good to see that no one person steals the show, everyone has a part to play and all perform extremely well and make the story very pleasurable to watch. In this day of PVR's it's not often that I'll sit down and watch something all the way through, but Downton Abbey is definately in that category.
There are so many interactions between the characters and all of them have some part of the tale to tell. Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, plays her role to perfection and the way that she reacts with the other members of the 'upstairs' is a credit to her talents. Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley is a brilliant foil to Maggie Smith as she tries to bring her own ideas into the old 'family firm'.
Downstairs, Jim Carter as the Butler, Mr Carson and Phyllis Logan as the Housekeeper, Mrs Hughes both put in a believable show as the bosses of the household. They keep control of their charges and ensure they perform their jobs with the minimum of disruption to those 'upstairs'.
As with all dramas, the little mini-plots all add substance to our viewing and there are lots of these going on. The fear of the family members that they will be loosing their house. The backbiting going on downstairs as some members of the staff feel they deserve a position above somebody else. The will they, won't they for some of the romantic liasions. The influx of new ideas into a very settle environment. The changes going on in the country and the effect on the family.
I'm glad that a second series of this programme has been commissioned, and if the rumours are to be believed, then a third is also in the offing. Just need to get my life in order so that I can get everything out of the way so that my Sunday evening won't be disturbed.