Downton Abbey

 

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After its great success on television comes the big-screen version of the aristocratic soap opera.

 

Downton Abbey 
Tuppence Middleton and Allen Leech

 

Following six series and a Christmas special you might have thought the viewing public would have had enough of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their at times insufferable family. But no, here we are again with the film version and it’s a new story, picking up where writer Julian Fellowes left off in 1925. Two years later the Granthams of Downton Abbey are still getting up to their posh way of life but, wait… what is this? A communication from Buckingham Palace no less to inform our noble Lord that King George V and Queen Mary are on tour in Yorkshire and are inviting themselves to stay at Downton…

 

The impending arrival of royalty puts the hens in the below stairs coop into a fluster. How will they manage to serve their monarch without dropping any bricks? They needn’t worry because the royal personages are travelling with their own chef, maids, attendants and food supplies. This puts the resident staff’s noses out of joint until they find a way of getting their own revenge. There are some other new strands to the Downton story which Julian Fellowes elaborates quite skillfully: the arrival of Lady Bagshaw, a long-lost cousin, Queen Mary’s suspicious-looking lady’s maid, a political story involving a near assassination, a continuation of the scandal surrounding Barrow, the gay servant who has been promoted to butler, following the retirement of Mr Carson and a new love interest introducing an unlikely couple.

 

All the cast play their parts impeccably – Hugh Bonneville remains the stuffed shirt that is the Earl, Maggie Smith has her fair share of put-downs, in Lady Bracknell style, Simon Jones is suitably buttoned-up as the King, with a curly-wigged Geraldine James as the Queen. Imelda Staunton makes her mark as Lady Bagshaw, David Haig is a very officious Royal Butler, and the below stairs staff – Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Robert James-Collier, Michael C. Fox, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Phyllis Logan and Lesley Nicol all know their place. Director Michael Engler pulls all the strands together very efficiently. The film appears to be a farewell to this upper class way of life but, you never know, we may not yet have seen the last of Downton Abbey.

 

MICHAEL DARVELL

 

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Laura Carmichael, Brendan Doyle, Phyllis Logan, Raquel Cassidy, Michael C. Fox, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Lesley Nicol, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Tuppence Middleton, David Haig, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Douglas Reith, Kate Phillips, Mark Addy, Susan Lynch, Richenda Carey, James Cartwright, Andrew Havill.

 

Dir Michael Engler, Pro Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge, Screenplay Julian Fellowes, Ph Ben Smithard, Pro Des Donal Woods, Ed Mark Day, Music John Lunn, Costumes Anna Robbins.

 

Carnival Film & Television/Focus Features/Perfect World Pictures-Universal Pictures.

122 mins. UK. 2019.  Rel: 13 September 2019. Cert. PG.