For my lucky UK readers, Downton Abbey, ITV’s new costume drama series, premieres tonight at 9 pm. We Americans shall have to cool our heels until PBS airs the mini-series in January, as part of their celebration of Masterpiece Theater’s 40th anniversary (and we can look forward to the remake of Upstairs, Downstairs, penned by Heidi Thomas [“Cranford”], in April!).
The drama is written and created by Julian Fellowes and stars Dame Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern as Robert’s wife, Cora, the Countess of Grantham. They lead an all-star cast, which also includes Penelope Wilton, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Lesley Nicol, Siobhan Finneran, Rob James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt, as well as new and emerging actors, Rose Leslie, Sophie McShera, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Brown Findlay and Thomas Howes. Guest stars include Robert Bathurst, Samantha Bond, Allen Leech, David Robb, Brendan Patrick and Theo James.
Download the lavishly detailed Press Release here, and visit the Enchanted Serenity of Period Films and the unofficial fansite for a spectacular source of photos, interviews, and much more.
Read on for a summary of the first episode