Downton Abbey

Our Countdown to Downton Abbey Series 2 Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is fabulous, not only because it’s Christmas for those that celebrate, but because it officially marks two weeks until the premiere of Downton Abbey Series 2 in the U.S. Hurrah! (I’m almost as excited for the Dowager Countess’ return as I am for Santa; just saying…)

To really get in the spirit for our return to Downton, we’re planning a slew of features and fun things here at Telly Visions, as well on our official WETA website. Things are kicking off tomorrow afternoon with a marathon rebroadcast of Series 1, starting at 5pm on TV 26 and WETA HD. We’ll air the entire first season back-to-back-to-back-to-back, so this is a perfect time to refresh your memory about the Crawley family drama or perhaps finally see what all the buzz is about for yourself.

Here on the blog we plan to cover all the reasons you should watch this amazing show in the first place, dish about previews and cast Q&As, share some new photos, talk fashion, look at some history, and celebrate some of the amazing actors that bring the series to life.

However, I thought it might be fun to ask you, the readers – what about Downton fascinates you? It’s been ages since I’ve seen a series like this sort of capture such a large piece of the public imagination, and I think that’s awesome. So, what would you like to talk about over the next couple of weeks? And what do you think would be fun for those of us who are (I assume) all such huge fans of this drama? More history? Trivia? Character studies (from the in-depth motivational analysis to the more basic “Who are all these people?” variety)? Something silly? Open to any and all suggestions – and would appreciate it!


Golden Globes: Lots of Love for British Actors as Downton Abbey Scores Four Nods

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning and they included many fabulous British actors in multiple categories, as well as several recent series you’ll recognize.

Masterpiece Classic’s Downton Abbey walked away with four nominations – for Best TV Movie or Miniseries, Best Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie (Hugh Bonneville), Best Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie (Elizabeth McGovern), and Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Miniseries or Movie (Dame Maggie Smith).

Downton will face off against a fellow British hit - 1950s period drama The Hour – in the Best TV Movie or Miniseries category. The Hour stars Dominic West and Romola Garai also both grabbed nods for Best Actor and Actress in a a TV Miniseries or Movie. (Though, if you ask me, it is a crime that Ben Whishaw’s work in that series went unrecognized.)

In fact, the two lead acting in a TV Movie or Miniseries categories are almost exclusively British, with only one Yank making the cut in each. Among the Brits recognized on the men’s side, Bonneville and West are joined by Luther’s Idris Elba and Bill Nighy, nominated for his role in Masterpiece’s Page Eight. For the ladies, Emily Watson and Kate Winslet are nominated alongside McGovern and Garai.

Among the film nominations, former Hex star Michael Fassbender scored a Best Actor nod for his role in the somewhat controversial NC-17 sex addiction drama Shame. Tilda Swinton scored a Best Actresss nomination for her powerful performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin. And Kate Winslet is actually a double Golden Globe nominee, receiving a lead actress nod for her performance in the film Carnage, in addition to her nomination for Mildred Pierce.

Despite critical buzz for Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hardy’s performances, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was completely shut out in the movie categories. Vanessa Redgrave’s much-lauded supporting performance in Coriolanus was ignored for the second time in two days (she didn't snag a Screen Actors Guild nomination either). Steven Spielberg’s Brit-filled War Horse earned a Best Drama nomination, but the man himself did not receive a Best Director nod. And somehow, Madonna’s Wallace Simpson drama W.E. managed to pull off a Golden Globe nomination – for Best Score.

Full list of nominees after the jump, if you’ve not seen them. Do you think the Globes got more right than wrong this year? Was something or someone obvious left off the list? Tell us in the comments.

The Countdown is On: One Month Until Downton Abbey is Back!

The wait is almost over! Downton Abbey returns for a second series on Masterpiece Classic one month from today, on January 8th!

And, a bit of extra exciting news – if you’ve been meaning to try out Downton, or just want to get in a little refresher before the new episodes begin, you’re in luck! WETA will be airing the entire first season in full, back-to-back-to-back-to back on December 25! So make sure to leave some room in your holiday plans to spend some quality time with the Crawleys.

In the meantime, start getting excited by watching another new promo for Series 2 – it looks really good!

Christmas Telly in the UK: Downton Abbey Squares Off Against EastEnders

There’s basically no better time to be in Britain than Christmas – yes, the decorations are lovely (Regent Street!), the mince pies are delicious, the panto is usually pretty funny, and the Boxing Day shopping is great. But, the best part about Christmas there is, of course, the wonderful assortment of great television that’s just lined up back-to-back for your viewing pleasure.

We don’t really have an American equivalent of the British “Christmas Special” – most of our original programming tends to go on hiatus or into repeats sometime around Thanksgiving, give or take a week or two, and it’s a wasteland for new episodes of most major network properties until the New Year. The Brits take a much more sensible approach (if you ask me), and schedule new special episodes from many of their most popular programs over the holidays.

This year there will be Christmas specials from many British favorites – including Doctor Who, Absolutely Fabulous, Strictly Come Dancing, Coronation Street, an All-Star Family Fortunes in which The Only Way is Essex will compete against a team from the sitcom Benidom to win money for charity, and the BBC’s new Great Expectations adaptation (more to come on that this week), among others.

But, the big news for TV fans is that ITV has scheduled a Christmas installment of their hit costume drama Downton Abbey opposite beloved soap opera EastEnders. Both series have huge fanbases, both have loads of drama and romance, and both will be airing at 9pm on Christmas Day. It’s a pretty bold move by ITV to schedule Downton against a perennial holiday ratings heavyweight like Eastenders, which has become a Christmas tradition for a lot of people. Who will emerge victorious in the holiday ratings battle between Team Downton and Team Eastenders? What would YOU be watching if you had the choice?

Fantastic New Downton Abbey Promo for Series 2

If for some reason you've yet to hit Maximum Anticipatory Excitement over the new series of Downton Abbey that's premiering in just 38 days, this new promo will get you there pretty quick. It's that awesome.

Is it embarrassing if I admit I got a little bit emotional watching this? Oh, and if you're curious, the truly excellent U2 cover song used here is by Scala and Kolacny Brothers.

It's Friday - Must Be News Roundup Time!

Happy Friday, everyone! That means it’s time for our weekly News Roundup post, where we fill you in on all things interesting in British entertainment. It’s also 11/11/11, so let’s just pretend that there’s a creative Doctor Who joke inserted here somewhere. (I was trying to come up with puns on “The Eleventh Hour” that were actually funny all morning, with no luck. Alas.)

But, before we jump into that, a quick heads-up for our Eastenders fans. Every week we repeat Friday’s Eastenders episodes on Saturday mornings. Due to the special programming marathon airing for Veterans Day today, we won’t be visiting Albert Square this afternoon. However, the Saturday repeats tomorrow will go on as scheduled. So, if you must have your Eastenders fix as soon as possible, we’ve got you covered! However, we’ll also be airing a four-episode block next Friday, to make up for the preemption today. Let us know if you’ve got any questions on this programming shift, and we’ll sort you.

Now, go ahead and click through for news on Remembrance Day observations, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, The Only Way is Essex, Absolutely Fabulous and more!

News of the Day: Downton Abbey Renewed!

 

Exciting news for Downton Abbey fans – the period drama was picked up for a third series yesterday by ITV! [Pause for happy dancing and various forms of enthusiastic celebration. A long pause.]

Downton’s second season, which wraps in the UK this weekend and will air in America starting January 8, has been doing fairly gangbusters ratings for ITV, so this isn’t exactly shocking news, though it’s certainly very welcome. Downton Series 3 will be comprised of eight episodes, set over the two year period of 1920 and 1921. Crowleys in the Roaring Twenties? Yes, please!

Obviously, as this news was just announced yesterday, there’s no indication of when Series 3 will debut, either abroad or here in America, and it's highly likely no one involved has given any thought to any of that just yet. I wouldn't expect to hear anything on that front for quite a while, actually, but stay tuned for updates as news becomes available.

New Downton Abbey Series 2 Promo!

We’re now 66 days from the premiere of the new series of Downton Abbey on January 8, 2012. Just over two months to go!

To help get through the wait, here’s a brand new promo just released for the new season, with a few superquick scenes which should probably get everyone chomping at the bit for Christmas to just get over with already. (Personally, I’m definitely looking forward to a visit from the Dowager Countess way more than I am from Santa, that’s for sure.)

If you need more ideas on things to do while you’re waiting for new episodes to return, why not let Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton offer her suggestions on how to survive the hiatus, including several great ideas for the history buffs in our crowd.

Friday News Roundup Time!

TGIF! And Happy (almost) Halloween!

It’s time for another Friday Roundup of everything we thought was worth reading in British entertainment news this week. Click right on through for bits and bobs on Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Skins, Upstairs Downstairs and more!

Inspector Spacetime and Cougarton Abbey: Is Being A Britophile Going Mainstream?

If you saw the season premiere of NBC's comedy Community, then you were probably pleasantly surprised to catch two references sure to bring joy to Brit lovers' hearts. Abed, Community's resident pop culture geek, is on a quest to find a new show to watch while his favorite American program is on hiatus. With some help from his friends, Abed is introduced to the joys of British television, namely two series called Cougarton Abbey and Inspector Spacetime. Sound familiar?

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