The show gets significant historical events right. The depiction of the 1918 “Spanish” ‘flu epidemic is accurate—it came on suddenly, people could be well in the morning and near death at night. And it was people in the prime of life, 20-40 year olds, who were most at risk.
However, the depiction of trench warfare is mixed. The show captures what scholar Paul Fussell described as the “ridiculous proximity” between the home front and the trenches. For instance, the posh department stores Fortnum and Mason and Harrods both had gift assortments specially chosen for the front—and delivery was efficient!
A photo slideshow, from the The Right Honourable Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham to Bates and Mr. Carson
The dynamic, if dysfunctional duo of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch, War Horse) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman, The Hobbit), battles the worst of 21st- century London, including a tech savvy arch-villain who wants to rule the world and a hound from the hinges of Hell.
Julian Fellowes is as English as Earl Grey and clotted cream. As an actor, director and writer, he has continually peeked under the petticoats of British mores and conveyed the details with relish to audiences. His writing of the upstairs-downstairs whodunit Gosford Park won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002, and his subsequent films Vanity Fair and The Young Victoria established Fellowes as the class-fixated Anglophile’s Anglophile.
A lifelong Conservative, Fellowes was made a Peer of the Realm in 2011 and bestowed with the title Baron Fellowes of West Stafford.
Now with season two of the Edwardian-era Downton Abbey, the internationally syndicated costume drama he conceived and wrote for ITV, airing in the States as part of PBS’ Masterpiece.
Downton, the period piece most watched in the U.K. since Brideshead Revisited, left off last season with the outbreak of WWI and the able-bodied men in the household heading off to the trenches.