Downton Abbey Dish #31

Deborah Gilbert | November 17, 2014

OK, Downtonians, t-minus 7 weeks and counting till the January 4 premiere and the excitement continues to build! Last weekend I was grounded, stuck in my apartment with a bad cold. So I thought, what a great excuse to pull out my DVDs of Downton Abbey‘s first four seasons for a good old binge watch! Have you re-watched the earlier seasons recently? If you haven’t, you should. SPOILER ALERT: Yes, the Titanic sinks again. But there were so many details I’d almost forgotten about it was like watching it fresh, and it holds up to the test of time. It is still just as fantastic as the first time around. If you don’t have the first four seasons on DVD, they are still available from THIRTEEN. What a great way to refresh yourself for the impending Season 5!

Fasten Your Seatbelts!:

And speaking of Season 5, this newly released trailer just might be the most exciting one yet! Who is Edith glaring at? Who is being told to leave the house? Look at how Mary opens the door for Lord Gillingham, then backs away (almost like Dorothy Gale opening the door to her house once she’d landed in Oz). Is he about to turn her from black & white to color? Why is Anna upset and worried about secrets again? And if she is so worried about secrets being revealed, why is she telling Mrs. Hughes!?! Who is telling Baxter to tell them everything? What is there to tell?? Will we ever find out? Sigh. SO MANY QUESTIONS! But it’s almost here! CANNOT WAIT!

You Might Be a Molesley If:

Have you ever been standing by the curb in the rain and a cab makes a bee line for you, just to drench you with that puddle? (We all know they aim for us, right?) Does the person on line in front of you always get the last ticket/job/red velvet cupcake? Does it always seem like you are getting to somewhere just as the door is closing? If so, you just might be suffering from The Molesley Effect, for which there is no cure. In this clip, we delve more deeply into the luckless psych of Mr. Molesley and what makes him tick. And we explore the musical question; now that Mr. Tick has found a Miss Tock (Baxter), can the luckless-ness of these two souls cancel each other out? Can they build some kind of wonderful together? This is yet another storyline I am looking forward to watching play out, how about you? When one hears Julian Fellowes talk about these characters, it makes one think that if they had therapists, or even self-help books, there would be much less of a story here. Good thing they didn’t because it is so much fun watching them try to find their way!

Downton Abbey Rediscovered:

OK, so maybe you don’t have time to binge watch Seasons 1 through 4 in the run up to Season 5 – but it’s been a long time since Carson and Mrs. Hughes waded into the waves, and even the most dedicated Downtonian may need a little refresher. If that’s you, have we got the perfect thing for you: Downton Abbey Rediscovered, a 90 minute special narrated by Broadway legend Bernadette Peters. With video clips, behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews, relive some of your favorite moments from the first four seasons and get a few teases of what might be coming in Season 5. Downton Abbey Rediscovered premieres on THIRTEEN on Sunday night, November 30 at 9PM, and is repeated at 11PM. (That’s twice, back-to-back in one night! Can you stand it?) And not for nothing, but this special program is also perfect for all your friends and coworkers who have never watched Downton Abbey and are left wondering what the excitement is all about. Get them to watch this so at the very least they can keep up with the water cooler chatter on Monday mornings. They will thank you for it! And speaking of Carson and Mrs. Hughes wading into the waves, recently Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), when asked about that scene in an interview, joked that it was a suicide pact. But we feel fairly certain it wasn’t. Carry on.

Somebody Needs a Hug:

Have you ever noticed that, while there have been lots of tears and heartbreak at Downton, there’s been little comfort shown. I always just assumed that was cultural, but it turns out there’s more to it. In a recent and very interesting article in The Telegraph, Downton Abbey‘s Historical Oracle Alastair Bruce explained why we don’t see hugging on the show. It turns out that this was standard in the era before antibiotics, when disease was spread much more easily. The fact that this was standard behavior all around has made the few times Carson embraced Lady Mary to comfort her stand out all the more, and knowing this it adds a new dimension to those scenes as well, don’t you think?


As soon as I saw the picture in this advert of Hugh Bonneville ducking around the corner from all those lookie-loo tourists who showed up on the village location set for filming, I thought of this quote Lord Grantham said to his mother-in-law, ”Sometimes I feel like a creature in the wild whose natural habitat is gradually being destroyed.” Does he look like that to you too? I think we have heard every one of the actors from the show say how very grateful they are to be a part of such a big hit. But as grateful as these long-time jobbing actors are, they must also long (at least a bit) for Season 1 when they could go on location to film scenes and no one was there to notice but the village sheep. Now they’re like The Beatles and it looks like Hugh knows that as soon as he is spied around that corner he is going to illicit screams and tossed panties. Help!

Preview of Coming Attractions:

I just got the fabulous new book A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey, and this morning did a fun interview with its author Jessica Fellowes. The book is a great companion to the show, full of lots of new information and insights (including authentic recipes). I’ll be writing all about it in my next Dish, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ve decided that my project this weekend is to attempt one of the recipes from the book to bring to a party. I’m thinking either Parmesan Straws or Scottish Shortbread. I’m off now to the market to buy the ingredients. Wish me luck!

Darcy Schmarcy: And with all this talk about Downton, I can’t forget to mention some other news. In case you haven’t heard, our Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, is starring in a new feature film called The Imitation Game, about the remarkable and tragic life of Alan Turing. Alan Turing was one of the Bletchley Park code breakers during WWII and was credited by Winston Churchill as making the single biggest contribution to the Allied victory over the Nazis. He was also a closeted gay man, in a time when that was a very dangerous thing to be, and ten years after the war he committed suicide after being convicted for homosexuality and chemically castrated. Because the Bletchley Park code breakers had to keep their involvements secret for thirty years, this secret war hero died years before the public ever knew about his contributions to the freedom we all enjoy. His life mirrors that of countless other gay men and women who were similarly abused by discriminatory laws. Benedict Cumberbatch is getting great reviews. It’s a bit of a PBS Sunday night family reunion with a cast that includes Allen Leech of Downton Abbey and Tom Goodman-Hill of Mr. Selfridge.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking right about now; you’re thinking this is a serious film about a serious subject (and it is) and there really is no good reason to post this picture of Benedict, posing as a soggy Mr. Darcy here (other than it would make a certain people very happy). But, this is where you’d be wrong. I feel it is important at this juncture to state that we are not simply viewing this as a piece of beefcake. Well, maybe we are. But the point is, men with wet shirts (or no shirts) are an important issue, and the importance of this issue will only increase as we move forward into an uncertain future of ever more rapid climate change. What with all the El Niños and La Niñas, we can expect to see a lot more of this. So let’s just say this is the plus side of our elected officials not being able to summon the courage to save the planet from impending doom. Yes, this picture of Mr. Benedict Darcy is posted in the name of science and the public interest because this is PBS after all.

See you next time, Downtonians!