I know, I’m going against my better judgement and have succumbed to the unthinkable by discussing Christmas before Thanksgiving, but this is too good to pass up. As the UK has all but put a lid on the 5th series of Downton Abbey with only the Christmas episode to go, it’s now all about American audiences as they begin to plan their Downton watching parties and prepare holiday dishes with the overall goal of making Mrs. Patmore proud. That said, there is something new that you might want to think about for that special Downton Abbey fan in your household this holiday season.
Christmas is starting early at Downton Abbey with the November 17 release of the double-album Christmas at Downton Abbey. It’s comprised of 45 holiday tunes, including seven by members of the cast. Two of the most tender numbers, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” and “The First Noel,” are sung by Downton’s very own Cora, Countess of Grantham (now Lady Grantham), played by Elizabeth McGovern. McGovern has a long history with music from her days at Julliard to today and her forming the folk group, Sadie and the Hotheads in 2008 where she provides lead vocals and play acoustic guitar. “I’ve always got my guitar on the set of Downton Abbey and am rushing away to perform,” says McGovern. If you’ve heard Sadie and the Hotheads, you know this isn’t just some passing fancy with McGovern as the band has performed twice at the Isle of Wight Festival, played the Edinburgh Fringe and opened for Sting at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
On one track of Christmas at Downton Abbey, “The First Noel”, she is joined by fellow Downton Abbey cast member Julian Ovenden, a.k.a. Charles Blake, an actor who has his own musical theater background and will appear on several of the album’s tracks. McGovern isn’t the only prominent cast member with musical ability as Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, has performed live with McGovern’s Sadie and the Hotheads band and appeared on their second album.
Just so you know, there will be a bit of competition this holiday season with respect to Downton Abbey Christmas CD’s. Don’t know about you but I’m really hoping to find this particular Downton Christmas CD under the tree come Christmas morning. What about you?