Rice Library


Are you an Anglophile?

 Is the PBS Masterpiece Theatre series Downton Abbey   must-see-TV for you?

Downton Abbey

If you are already a fan, here's a way to discuss it with other fans—and if you're not aware of this very popular PBS/BBC show, then here's your opportunity to get in on the fun. Librarians Mona Meyer and Phil Orr will be leading discussions of season 3 of Downton Abbey in January/February 2013.

Join us for a lively (we hope!) discussion of our favorite show on these dates:
    January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5, 12, 19
    UC 206
    Noon (feel free to bring your lunch)

Season 1 of Downton Abbey aired 4 episodes introducing Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, his American heiress wife, Cora, their three late teens/early 20s daughters, the ladies Mary, Edith, and Sybil, and Robert’s mother Violet.  It takes place in 1912, beginning with the sinking of the Titanic. The estate of Downton Abbey may, by law, only be inherited by a male heir and Robert has only daughters.  The heir he’d chosen went down with the Titanic, thus the story lines revolve around the selection of a new heir and getting to know these characters (and the servants, who have drama all their own).  The 7 episodes of season 2 involve the effects of WWI on the inhabitants of the estate, the Spanish flu pandemic, and the politics of class distinctions.  

Season 3 begins Sunday evening, January 6, 2013.  It opens in 1920, with the family recovering from the war and flu, but facing financial crises and a world order entirely unlike what they previously knew.  A new character, Cora’s mother, played by Shirley MacLaine, will be introduced.  Sparks are sure to fly between her and Lady Violet, played by Maggie Smith!  Discussions will take place at noon on the Tuesdays following the weekly Sunday night telecasts.  If you miss Sunday’s viewing, you would thus have the opportunity to watch it online sometime Monday/early Tuesday.  Episodes are available on the PBS Masterpiece website for a short time after they are first aired.  And if you’ve not seen any previous episodes and want to get caught up, all is not lost.  Season 2 will be rerun on PBS the five Sundays in December, starting Dec. 2, 2012.  The local (Evansville-Vanderburgh) public library has seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. The PBS Downton Abbey website is also a great source of information and background material.  And for more information, check out these library books: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle / by The Countess of Carnarvon (call no. DA570 .C37 2011) and Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" / Margaret Powell (call no. TX649.P68 A3 2012).


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