There no reason why Downton Abbey should work on a commercial television station. It’s a period drama, stuffed full of petticoats and pleases those with a penchant for prim and properness… and it’s bloody good.

In season one episode four this coming Sunday night the continuing saga of Lady Mary’s plight with regard to the inheritance of Downton continues, with Cousin Matthew making headway in spite “Grandma” Violet’s determined plan to see him off (such a charmer that she is). That’s the A plot anyway, with B, C & D plots well-encompassing the 15 other major characters that fill our screens every Sunday night. Fans of Mr Bates (Lord Grantham’s partially-lame Valet) will see him starting to come into his own, though his story remains a closely guarded secret – why is Lord Grantham so indebted to keep him around?

Miss O’Brien (Lady Crowley’s Lady’s maid) continues to be in the right place at the right time to dig and dish dirt on everyone… allowing the tension to build as everyone seeks for her to receive her comeuppance. She’s the bitch we had to have. But the most startling storyline is that involving Mr Carson (the Butler) and his dark and mysterious past.

It’s a spectacular episode, building more back story into the characters while developing the narrative to allow the story to progress while not overlooking the entire cast and presenting them all to deliver a show-stopping series final (only 3 episodes left after this!). A brilliant production from ITV in the UK, and currently in post-production for season 2, additing 8 episodes to the fold.

If you’re finding other drama a little dry or stale (and we are looking at you Sea Patrol), then commit to Downton Abbey. It’s fresh, it’s engaging, and thoroughly scandalous. Though you likely already have, given the average for the first three episodes is nearly 1.7 million people. One of the better things about the series is apart from it being well shot on location with a singularly brilliantly cast group of actors is that it’s made it cool to like period drama again. When it’s this good, fair enough too. I think it’s deceptive in it’s charm and joyous in it’s innocence (& lack thereof, also).

For those already attached and find too much Downton is never enough, enjoy Channel 7’s promo for the upcoming ep:


Downton Abbey (Season 1 Episode 4) – Sun 19/06 8:30pm, Ch7.