Viewers everywhere else in the world have fallen in love with the fabulous Brit series Downton Abbey. Even Will and Kate are fans.
Alas, it isn’t on any TV schedules in our neck of the woods, so is only available on DVD through Amazon.
It is FAB-U-LOUS.
Set in post-Edwardian England, it tells the story of the the Earl of Grantham and his family: wife Countess Cora, daughters Lady Mary, Edith and Sybil, and the many staff to run the gorgeous home the series is named for (actually Highclere Castle).
Because inheritance is only through the male line, the Earl’s daughters will not keep the estate or money after his death.
Enter The Heir…
Before you pooh-pooh it as an inaccessible, somber period piece, wait!
It moves quickly and it’s easy to get totally engrossed in it. We watched 4 episodes back-to-back and would have continued, except it was late.
It’s gorgeous to look at. The storylines are absorbing and accesible. The writing deft and light. The characters are easy to like or dislike. The sets – the interiors, the clothes – are all stunning.
There’s swoony love, there’s high and low drama, there’s humour and wit, there’s compassion, and there’s fine acting. (Maggie Smith – doughty and hilarious!)
It’s the stuff my fantasies are made of – a truly fabulous ‘house’, divine interiors, gorgeous clothes, attractive heroes, nasty villains.
It’s not fuddy duddy ye-olde-worlde at all.
While it portrays the lives of the aristocracy and the serving staff of the time, it really is about the human relationships and the stories. Although the serving staff are below stairs, they have a rigid social structure and rules too, and of course, have dreams, feelings and disappointments. The writing is so good that you move between the worlds without even noticing, and get attached to characters, whether or not you like them.
As my nephew described it ‘olden days Gossip Girl‘, which is a perfect description!
Amazingly, it’s all the work of Julian Fellowes (who wrote Gosford Park) and is not an adaptation of anything. Hence the very modern pace and storytelling.
Sadly, as it’s a British series, it’s only 7 episodes (at the cost of a million pounds per episode and when you watch it, you’ll see why) and series 2 will air in the UK soon. That’s another 8 episodes.
I can hardly wait.
I LOVED this!