With the Autumnal weather setting in here in Britain, and the Summer holidays well and truly over, many people dread their Sunday evenings at this time of year. For me however Sunday evenings just got a whole lot better as I can once again indulge in a guilty pleasure with the return of Downton Abbey to our television screens.
The period costume drama, set in Edwardian middle England, has just returned to the British television schedules for its third season and appears to be going from strength to strength. Whilst it wouldn’t do my street cred much good to admit I’m a fan, I can’t be the only one tuning in; last Sunday’s episode saw it watched by over a third of the viewing public with figures at times reaching levels achieved by the latest series of Simon Cowell’s X-Factor which precedes it in the schedules.
One of the show’s attractions has to be the top class acting; Maggie Smith has just scooped a grammy for her role and there is a raft of other young British talent in the cast. For me though, the main appeal is the escapism, the opportunity to lose myself in a bygone era of smart dress suits and frilly dresses and all set against the magnificently grandiose back drop of the Abbey itself. The show is filmed at the magnificent Highclere Castle, a Victorian manor in central England which is still privately owned by the Carnavon family whose generations have lived there since the 17th century. The family however open their home and gardens to visitors throughout the Summer months and next year it is at the top of my list for places to visit.
Downton Abbey is currently screened in over 100 countries around the world, so if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss a chance to tune in when it comes to a network near you. Or if you fancy the real thing, why not come over to England and wander the gardens and grounds of Highclere Castle yourself as you pretend to be one of the Crawley family – I won’t tell anyone if you won’t!