Things are hotting up at Downton Abbey with the first hint of a scandal upstairs and the first rumblings of rebellion from the servants’ quarters.
Shot at the lavish Highclere Castle near Newbury, 1000 acres of landscaped estate provide a luxurious backdrop to the plotting and manoeuvring which threaten the pride and legacy of the story’s’ focus: the Crawley family. Written by Julian Fellowes, the creator of Gosford Park, Downton Abbey sees an Earl and his family struggling to preserve a dynasty.
In this episode, the eldest daughter, Mary, has her head turned by a dashing young fellow and undertakes some daring side-saddle riding to prove her mettle. Meanwhile, other residents are hoping to improve themselves, leading to shock when it is discovered that Gwen harbours ambitions beyond Downton for herself and pain for Bates, who attempts to cure his limp.
Thomas the Footman and O’Brian the lady’s maid turn out to be nasty pieces of work, keeping a Turkish diplomat’s indiscretions to themselves as ammunition for later use.
A thoroughly enjoyable series with an extravagant set, high-class acting from Maggie Smith and a stellar script from Julian Fellowes.
Downton Abbey, episode 3, will air on ITV1 on Sunday 10th October at 9pm.