Lots of questions to be answered one week from tonight in the UK when Planet Earth’s favorite British period drama, Downton Abbey returns to the small screen with the premiere of series 5. Filming has concluded, it’s now Downton Time in the UK. Now that we are inside one week, Chloe Fox from the Telegraph takes us behind the camera as filming winds down at Highclere Castle.
While there is lots of drama on the horizon, it’s not like the first four series have been without their own personal drama. Did Bates (Brendan Coyle) murder his wife? Would Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) end up with her cousin Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)? And, how can we forget the fact that within a matter of weeks Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) died in childbirth and Matthew had been killed in a car crash. And that’s just the first three series. Series 4 ramped up the drama quotient quite a bit with the attack on Anna Bates (Joanna Frogatt) and then seemed to endlessly stretch out the question of who would Lady Mary end up with.
Though cast and crew have been threatened to within an inch of their respective period drama lives by series creator/writer, Sir Julian Fellowes, if they even think of divulging any plot lines, there are some things that we do know about for series 5. You do get the feeling that if there were any leaks, you might just get a middle of the night visit from Mr. Bates.
Some things are pretty easy to guess knowing that it is 1924, one year removed from where season four left off. Lady Mary will, no doubt, continue to juggle suitors, Bates and Anna will continue their struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of her rape, and a new character, Kuragin, a dashing Russian refugee played by Rade Sherbegdia, will spice things up for everyone. Richard E Grant arrives at Downton and play art historian Simon Bricker, a friend of the family along with Anna Chancellor, who plays Lady Anstruther.
Series 5 is set against a backdrop of the first-ever Socialist government, so that brings it’s own drama to the inhabitants of Downton. “The 1920s were a strange era of transition,” Fellowes says. “Visually, that change will be reflected in the costumes – hemlines moving up, necklines moving down, and, for all characters, adjustment to the new world will be the order of the day.” One new revelation, according to Fox, is that Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) will be discovered to have ‘a past’. That ought to bring a smile to the face of Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton).
One of the more encouraging things to come out of ANY interview to this point comes from series writer/creator, Julian Fellowes. “I must say, I’m incredibly pleased with this series. Who knows how long we’ve got left in us. My own belief is that we will all reach a natural consensus about when it’s time to say goodbye. In the meantime, we are going to keep telling the story as best we can.” Don’t know about you but it sounds to me like we’ll be right back here again in 12 months talking about series 6, don’t you think? In the meantime, get that proper cup of tea ready for Sunday, 21 September for the return of Downton Abbey on ITV1.