Lights, camera, Period-drama, action! The Downton Abbey movie has started filming.
Period-drama Downton Abbey was a surprise hit for ITV when it began airing in 2010. In a TV landscape often dominated by violence, mystery, and mayhem, the return to (supposedly) simpler times Downton provided proved a refreshing change.
However, the simpler world in no way skimped on the drama. Before the series ended in 2015, viewers were kept on the edge of their seats with tales of War, unscrupulous servants, and illegitimate children. Fans have been clamouring for more ever since.
Rumours of a cinematic outing for the show have swirled for years. Now they’ve been proven true, with the film beginning principal photography. All core cast members have been confirmed to return to their roles.
Here’s what we’re hoping to see in the Downton Abbey movie.
1. The Wonderful Scenery of Highclere Castle
A sweeping shot of a stunning castle and its grounds quickly gave Downton Abbey one of the most iconic intros in recent memory.
The real life location of the series is Higclere Castle, a 5000 acre estate in Hampshire, England.
The castle is open to tourists during the summer, with ticket-only events scattered through the rest of the year. For a hefty fee, it is even possible to get married there.
Highclere has been a popular filming location in the past, also serving as the main set for comedy series Jeeves & Wooster. The estate was sold after Downton Abbey finished production, but the new owners have given permission for the movie to be filmed there.
2. Gorgeous Costumes
Throughout the series’ five-season run, Downton Abbey was praised for the quality of its period costumes. It was particularly lauded for maintaining historical accuracy in this area. The series spans about a decade and a half, from 1912 to 1925.
Throughout the series, the characters wore new fashions to represent the real-life changes of the time. In the early seasons, the show’s female characters only ever wore dresses, save for when horse-riding. In the later seasons, however, they will occasionally wear trousers. This change is most prevalent in Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary, who begins taking on traditionally male duties around the estate.
It is assumed that the Downton Abbey movie will take place in the early ’30s. This means a whole new era of fashion for the costume designers to delve into.
3. Real-Life Drama
Downton Abbey’s writers were experts at weaving real-life tragedy with the Crawley’s fictional drama. In fact, the series’ whole plot is triggered by the sinking of the Titanic. The heir to Downton is killed in the tragedy, leading to the introduction of an unexpected new heir: the middle-class Matthew Crawley.
In season two, the family faces the horrors of War. No sooner is the war over than they are struck with a Spanish Flu Pandemic. The illness claims the life of Matthew’s fiance, Lavinia.
Not much is known about the movie’s plot so far, but we’re sure real-life events will come into play at some point.
4. Upstairs/Downstairs Friendships
The show wasn’t all about the upper-class Crawleys. Just as much time was devoted to those who lived ‘Downstairs’ – the Servants.
As the series went on, however, the lines between these characters become increasingly blurred. Some of the Crawleys truly become friends with their servants. One humorous storyline in Season 5 involved Lady Mary and her maid, Anna, seeking out birth control together.
In some cases, these friendships redeemed characters who were once quite wicked. Manipulative Butler Thomas Barrow shows a softer side with the Crawley sisters’ young children, Sybbie, George, and Marigold.
These relationships were such a huge part of the show, it’s impossible to think they won’t factor into the movie in some way.
5.The Dowager Countess
Ask any Downton Abbey fan who their favourite character is, and most of them will have the same answer: Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, played by the legendary Dame Maggie Smith.
Violet has her opinions on the way things are, and how they should stay – and she is absolutely hilarious.
Initially, there was a question mark over whether Smith would return to the film, due to the character’s advanced age making it unrealistic that she would still be alive another five years later.
Thankfully, Smith’s return has now been confirmed. It will be great to see the Dowager Countess back in action when the Downton Abbey movie hits theatres in 2019.