Has Downton Abbey Lost the Plot?

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Words by Naomi Jeffreys

As you well know, ‘Downton Abbey’ is the phenomenally successful period drama series which first aired in the UK on September 26th 2010, now in its Third Series I fear that it may have run its course.

Where to begin? What made the show so brilliant in its very First Series was that it was all new, all original, it was an original British period drama, with an ensemble of established and well known actors, each with equal parts to play.An ensemble cast. It was theatre on the small screen.

What is more, the storylines were exciting, they were new. We had the class divide, the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ element was played delightfully on our screens every Sunday. The costumes were glorious, the aristocrats lives were played to us, to devour, like a box of chocolates weekly. There was the rich family, with three daughters to marry off, there was love, hatred, rivalries and hard work displayed to us.

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The sexual tension between Mary and Matthew Crawley which tantalised viewers in the first two series and with its conclusion in the beautiful, elegant proposal in softly falling snow in the Christmas Special in 2011, has now, in its Third Series has become frighteningly twee, with both characters declaring their love to each other in cosy bedroom scenes.

But now the spark has gone.

Why?

Since the show’s air date it has become phenomenally successful across the Globe, but, my question is, should writer and creator, Lord Julian Fellowes lay this series to rest with dignity and grace? Like his character, Lady Mary Crawley would do?

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Much like its American counterparts, like ‘Glee’, it has become a brand, with merchandise, thousands of twitter followers, albums on iTunes and legions of followers on the social networking site, Facebook. It has become something unoriginal, it is not unique anymore.

Some of the younger actors, it appears, seem to have no loyalty to the show, more interested in breaking in to the daunting world of Hollywood, in to big budget movies, in to glamorous red carpet events and lead roles. It seems that this series is falling apart at the seams, much like one of the Crawley’s original 1920s dresses. With deaths galore this series, including the ever lovely, Dan Stevens, and more to be planned for the next series, one must wonder, how many characters will be left?

With a Fourth Series to be aired within in the next year, I can only hope that the series regains some of its dignity.

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