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Action/Drama

Downton Abbey – January 2011 on PBS

All I need to do is mention Downton Abbey upfront and fans of British television on both sides of the pond will know of what I speak. Written and created by Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning writer of Gosford Park and star of Monarch of the Glen, and starring the likes of Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, the series is another in a long, long line of period costume dramas coming out of the UK that are unmatched in quality anywhere on television. In recent years, viewers have been treated to the likes of Cranford and Return to Cranford on BBC, ITV and PBS. Not since the original Upstairs Downstairs have viewers more eagerly awaited a series of this magnitude.

How can this not be greatness when described, as only the Daily Mail can describe a series, as “…a bitchy heiress in a chiffon nightie, a footman with a chip on his shoulder and Dame Maggie in a bustle and bate: I’m in telly comfort heaven!

Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, Downton Abbey, which portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them has just recently premiered on ITV in the UK to both strong audience numbers and critical acclaim and has been confirmed for U.S. broadcast beginning January 9, 2011 on PBS, and KERA, continuing the stellar 41st season of Masterpiece.

2011 will be a great year on both sides of the pond

Good news for viewers of ITV and PBS as the U.S. awaits the premiere of season one in January 2011. After only two of 7 episodes from season one having been broadcast, ITV has just announced the commissioning of a second season to begin production in 2011. Until then, enjoy the preview.

  • Anglophilesouth

    Now, I have something to look forward to in the new year. This looks fantastic; great cast and great house! I enjoyed the preview clips – thanks for sharing.

  • Cora

    Thanks KERA and PBS. Great programming to anticipate!

  • Diane

    I have just finished watching the 4th episode.. I am on my way back to the usa for the winter and was very diasppointed not to have been able to see the full series.. I will now be able to view it in it”s entirety in January. EVERYONE must see this it is FABULOUS!

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      Diane: Glad this will work out for you. Right now, set to premiere on PBS, Sunday, January 9, 2011. Not sure how it ran in the UK, but here, there will be 4, 90-minute episodes over four consecutive Sundays (through January 30). My guess is that they are combining two UK episodes for each 90 minute installment. Enjoy.

  • victoria

    Is there going to be a downton abbey book released. My mum wants to read the story as really enjoyed the TV series but was hoping to find out the rest of the story in a novel version.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      Victoria: Even though there is a sequel in the works, I haven’t heard of an “official” book that would be based on the series but will do some checking.

  • barbara wendland

    I simply cannot wait to see Downtown Abbey!

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      Barbara: Hang with us a bit longer. It premieres on Sunday, January 9 at 8pCT/9pET on PBS stations nationwide.

  • john

    I understand from UK press reports that US viewers won’t be seeing the complete series , Seems PBS has decided the “plot” is a bit to complicated for US viewers so they have cut two hours from the original series to make it flow more smoothly for us with ADD , no doubt the two missing hours will be used for another pledge break featuring one legged Nuns singing live from the Kabba

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      John: Have just read the same reports and will post something later this week. Not sure of the ‘official’ reason from the Masterpiece folks, but I can assure you that the extra time has nothing to do with pledge breaks as the series will air January 9-30, 2011 outside of the traditional pledge period for PBS stations. Will see what I can find out and post.

  • Michael

    Americans, we have been insulted by PBS, they say we are too dumb to understand the concept of “entailment”, the vast majority of the British audience didn’t know what it was before the series. It simply means that some of the inheritance is tied to the title. They think the American attention span is too short for the full production! the people who watched Upstairs Downstairs have a short attention span?

  • annie

    This may clarify….
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1343388/Downton-Abbey-cut-2-hours-TV-executives-fearing-plot-baffle-US-viewers.html
    Why on earth? I’ve seen it and believe me, it’s not hard to follow.

  • Paul

    Don’t believe that story from the Daily Mail – or as we often call it in the UK, the “Daily Fail”. It’s another example of the newspaper MAKING UP A STORY to support its’ readers anti-American feeling.

    Here’s an article written by someone who was interviewed by the Daily Mail for the article above:

    http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2011/01/in-defense-of-downton-abbey-or-dont.html

    It shows quite clearly that Downton won’t be edited for PBS beyond a few tiny trims here and there, and that the “journalist” from the Daily Mail already had the story he wanted to write in his mind before conducting interviews. Shabby, sensationalist garbage from the Mail, as always.

  • rowlandw

    What is the actual manor house – history, location, current status?

  • rowlandw

    Thanx, Bill, for the link – I hope the house can be restored and preserved as part of our cultural legacy (I’m an American of recent Brit ancestry).

  • Joan Miller

    I bought the series of Downtown Abbey and throughl enjoyed it. I would like to know if there will be a sequel as it would be wonderful to follow the family and servants during the WW1. Life was changing radically and it certainly would have affected the Abbey people.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Joan: See today’s post (Jan 17) for news on the next series of Downton Abbey. Start filming in February with a target broadcast of Fall 2011 in the UK and early 2012 in the U.S. on PBS. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Melinda

    I am so pleased that Downton Abbey is currently on
    TV. I love the characters and the interaction between the
    help and owners of te house. So will Matthew and Mary get together?

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Melinda: I’ll never tell. :)

  • http://downtonabbey virginia needles

    I saw the series on tv and bought the set on ebay. Loved every minute of it and so glad that they are doing a sequel to it.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Ginny: glad you enjoyed. Look for a Fall 2011 premiere in the UK and a WInter 2012 in the US premiere.

  • Mary Lou Stilwell

    I just finished the entire 7 episodes and am completely enamored of this production. I was absolutely shellshocked with the ending, though!! Are there any plans for a second series? Is this all there is? One is left with nothing to hang onto regarding how the story ends. To whom does Downton Abbey pass?

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Mary Lou: Rest assured there is a second series of Downton Abbey in the works. My understanding is that production begins in February for 8 additional episodes with a Fall 2011 UK premiere and a tentative early 2012 broadcast on PBS. Check tellyspotting post on Monday for update as to what the second series holds for everyone.

  • Deborah Ann

    I am so looking forward to the second series of downton abbey. The broadast of downton abbey was truly television at it finest.

  • Cat

    I came across this show early one morning while flipping thru the channels. I was instantly hooked. Just watched the forth episode here in the States. Glad to hear they are going to film more episodes. The year long wait will be tough. However, good things are worth waiting for.

  • Karen Susan

    I looked forward every week to the next episode of this gorgeous series. But what is it about the Brits that just as everything unravels in the plot line, they “pull the plug”? How long must we wait to see what happens to all the story’s strings. With WWI looming, one can only imagine the worst.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Karen: As with a majority of British television programs across all genres, with one writer, they focus on creating anywhere from 3-8 episodes of a series a year. Since many of the actors are involved in many other projects and it’s difficult for a single writer to create more than this in a year, this is how they “produce” their series. In the US, with a team of writers that can reach numbers in the double digits, they are able to create more episodes a year…and, not necessarily all good. At this point, Downton Abbey goes into production in February with a Fall 2011 broadcast in the UK and January 2012 in the US scheduled at this point.

  • Susan Epstein

    Will there be more Downton Abbey?
    Great series….every Sunday night would be great….

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Susan: Definitely a great series, albeit a short one. Second series goes into production late February with a targeted Fall 2011 broadcast in the UK and a early 2012 broadcast on PBS in the US.

  • marsha graham

    i love these episodes, i am hooked and now i have to wait until jan 2012, that is hard.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Marsha: It’ll be hard, but we’ll get you through it with a great season of Masterpiece with new “Upstairs Downstairs”, “Any Human Heart” and new Masterpiece Mystery programs. Before you know it, it will be Jan 2012.

  • Ellie

    Loved watching this series. We are so anxious to watch the next series!! We can’t wait a whole year!!

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Ellie: glad you enjoyed. Won’t be as good as the series, but will try to give everyone as many updates along the way as they begin filming at the end of this month.

  • kubelick

    just finished watching the dvd. great stuff, hanging at the edge of my seat and can’t believe that the 2nd serious has not been started. it really is very much worth going on with.

  • Sidney Roberts

    I just finished the series on Netflix, and found it wonderful. Good plot, top notch casting, beautiful scenery and costumes. Maggie Smith has some great lines, and she is a pleasure to be in the same room with.

  • Faye Stevenson

    My husband and I have been watching Downton Abbey and have enjoyed it so much,but will the series return again next year? It would be a great shame if it does not.

    • http://tellyspotting.org Bill Young

      @Faye: Current plans are for a series 1 re-broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as part of the Masterpiece series in late December 2011 with the premiere of series 2 beginning on January 8, 2012. UK premiere will be late Fall 2011 for series 2.

  • Loopsydoopsy

    Absolutely LOVED Downton Abbey! Cannot wait for Season 3…..wish there was a book!

  • Loopsydoopsy

    Absolutely LOVED Downton Abbey! Cannot wait for Season 3…..wish there was a book!

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