1. Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes speaks to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies about his personal realization concerning the upstairs-downstairs social dynamic portrayed in the show:

"I remember one time when I was quite young … I was staying in a house and I got lost and I went through the wrong door, and I was standing at the top of the staircase that led down into the kitchens and everything. And there was a tremendous row going on between what sounded like four or five, six people shouting. … And I suddenly had such a powerful sense of the lives that were being lived by the people who worked there. Not, you know, only the family who lived there, but people who worked there were also, you know, enjoying life or hating each other or loving each other or whatever."


Lord Fellowes in front of Highclere, where Downton is filmed

    Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes speaks to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies about his personal realization concerning the upstairs-downstairs social dynamic portrayed in the show:

    "I remember one time when I was quite young … I was staying in a house and I got lost and I went through the wrong door, and I was standing at the top of the staircase that led down into the kitchens and everything. And there was a tremendous row going on between what sounded like four or five, six people shouting. … And I suddenly had such a powerful sense of the lives that were being lived by the people who worked there. Not, you know, only the family who lived there, but people who worked there were also, you know, enjoying life or hating each other or loving each other or whatever."

    Lord Fellowes in front of Highclere, where Downton is filmed

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  1. Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli shares his thoughts on the return of Downton Abbey and the secret to its improbable success:

As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television. When the whole of the TV universe is fragmenting, that isn’t just impressive. It’s almost impossible. But here we are.
And having seen the first seven hours of the new season, I think I know why. Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer of Downton Abbey, has crafted characters so well-rounded, so complicated and so interesting that we’re drawn to them no matter what the circumstances. The casting is first-rate — in many instances, perfect. The scenery and set design is beautiful to behold. And the many subplots are both rapidly paced and firmly telegraphed. When new characters or conflicts are introduced, their trajectory seems obvious – yet every so often, Fellowes throws in a twist so unexpected, and often so unsettling, that characters as well as relationships can change dramatically from one episode to another.


Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) via The Columbus Dispatch

    Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli shares his thoughts on the return of Downton Abbey and the secret to its improbable success:

    As Season 4 begins on PBS, Downton Abbey is the most popular drama in the history of public television. When the whole of the TV universe is fragmenting, that isn’t just impressive. It’s almost impossible. But here we are.

    And having seen the first seven hours of the new season, I think I know why. Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer of Downton Abbey, has crafted characters so well-rounded, so complicated and so interesting that we’re drawn to them no matter what the circumstances. The casting is first-rate — in many instances, perfect. The scenery and set design is beautiful to behold. And the many subplots are both rapidly paced and firmly telegraphed. When new characters or conflicts are introduced, their trajectory seems obvious – yet every so often, Fellowes throws in a twist so unexpected, and often so unsettling, that characters as well as relationships can change dramatically from one episode to another.

    Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) via The Columbus Dispatch

  2. fresh air

    david bianculli

    downton abbey

    julian fellowes

    masterpiece

  1. British writer Lucy Lethbridge chronicled the evolution of the service industry in her book Servants: A Downstairs History Of Britain From The Nineteenth Century To Modern Times. Today on Fresh Air she discusses the paradox of how servants were expected to be both visible and invisible:


Servants are in this rather curious position of being both required of being highly visible and completely invisible. The high visibility of a servant with an elaborate uniform opening the door is very much an indication of status, we use it all the time as a shorthand in films and television programs … for grandeur.



At the same time, the wheels of the house were oiled and required to be run without any apparent effort at all. So if you passed a servant sweeping the stairs she either had to turn her face to the wall or she nipped behind little doorways that were often … on staircases or along corridors or back stairs because her presence is almost an admission that the house didn’t run itself.



via the guardian

    British writer Lucy Lethbridge chronicled the evolution of the service industry in her book Servants: A Downstairs History Of Britain From The Nineteenth Century To Modern Times. Today on Fresh Air she discusses the paradox of how servants were expected to be both visible and invisible:

    Servants are in this rather curious position of being both required of being highly visible and completely invisible. The high visibility of a servant with an elaborate uniform opening the door is very much an indication of status, we use it all the time as a shorthand in films and television programs … for grandeur.

    At the same time, the wheels of the house were oiled and required to be run without any apparent effort at all. So if you passed a servant sweeping the stairs she either had to turn her face to the wall or she nipped behind little doorways that were often … on staircases or along corridors or back stairs because her presence is almost an admission that the house didn’t run itself.

    via the guardian

  2. fresh air

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  1. A British regulation—still in existence today— known as the law of entail dictates that daughters cannot inherit property or titles from their noble fathers. It’s the plot of Downton Abbey wherein Lady Mary weds her cousin Matthew in order to keep the nobility in the family. Soon this might change:

A new bill making its way through the House of Lords would for the first time allow noble fathers to pass their titles onto their daughters, the Daily Telegraph reports. The name of the legislation? “The Downton Law,” naturally.



Downton Abbey’s creator Julian Fellowes spoke to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies last year. Hear the interview. 
Read the full article via the Atlantic

    A British regulation—still in existence today— known as the law of entail dictates that daughters cannot inherit property or titles from their noble fathers. It’s the plot of Downton Abbey wherein Lady Mary weds her cousin Matthew in order to keep the nobility in the family. Soon this might change:

    A new bill making its way through the House of Lords would for the first time allow noble fathers to pass their titles onto their daughters, the Daily Telegraph reports. The name of the legislation? “The Downton Law,” naturally.

    Downton Abbey’s creator Julian Fellowes spoke to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies last year. Hear the interview.

    Read the full article via the Atlantic

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  1. The characters of Downton Abbey Simpsonized by Belgian artist Adrien Noterdaem.

via jezebel View in High-Res

    The characters of Downton Abbey Simpsonized by Belgian artist Adrien Noterdaem.

    via jezebel

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    the simpsons

    jezebel

    adrien noterdaem

  1. Emmy nominations are out, people!

    We’ve got an all-star line-up of interviews with the nominees for you: 

    Downton Abbey and our favorite Dowager Countess Maggie Smith are nominated in Drama as well as and House of Cards and Kevin Spacey.

    VEEP and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are nominated for Best Comedy Series as well as Laura Dern in Enlightened

    For good measure, some other nominees that we’ve spoken to include  Lena Dunham (Girls), Connie Britton (Nashville), and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men/Top of the Lake). 

    Who are you rooting for? 

  2. fresh air

    interviews

    emmy nominations

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    englightened

    laura dern

    veep

    julia louis-dreyfus

    lena dunham

    connie britton

    elizabeth moss

    top of the lake

    mad men

  1. Geoff Nunberg looks at how the language of the past is used and abused in the pop culture of the present:

Spotting linguistic anachronisms in Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey is as easy as shooting grouse in a barrel. “I couldn’t care less,” Lord Grantham says. Thomas complains that “our lot always gets shafted.” Cousin Matthew announces he’s been on a steep learning curve, a phrase that would have been gotten a blank reception even in the Sterling Cooper boardroom.

Disclaimer: the above are not direct Downton Abbey quotes.
Image via Telegrams from Downton View in High-Res

    Geoff Nunberg looks at how the language of the past is used and abused in the pop culture of the present:

    Spotting linguistic anachronisms in Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey is as easy as shooting grouse in a barrel. “I couldn’t care less,” Lord Grantham says. Thomas complains that “our lot always gets shafted.” Cousin Matthew announces he’s been on a steep learning curve, a phrase that would have been gotten a blank reception even in the Sterling Cooper boardroom.

    Disclaimer: the above are not direct Downton Abbey quotes.


    Image via Telegrams from Downton

  2. Fresh Air

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    Geoff Nunberg

    Anachronisms

    Downton Abbey

    Lincoln

    Mad Men

  1. Geoff Nunberg on the linguistic anachronisms of Downton Abbey:

    No, Mrs. Patmore probably wouldn’t have said “when push comes to shove,” and Lord Grantham should have waited a couple of decades before telling his chauffer to step on it. But that isn’t the problem with Downton's vision of the past. Even when the characters are speaking authentic period words, they aren't using them to express authentic period thoughts. The Earl who frets over his duties as a job creator, the servants grappling with their own homophobia — those are comfortable modern reveries. Drop any of them into a drawing-room comedy by Shaw or Pinero and they'd be as out-of-place as a flat-screen TV.

    Downton Abbey Anachronism Watch via @Slate

  2. Anachronisms

    Fresh Air

    Reviews

    Geoff Nunberg

    Slate

    Downton Abbey

  1. So, this Etsy shop’s business plan is to re-interpret the cast of Downton Abbey as house pets.
In case you missed Monday’s interview with Downton creator Julian Fellows, it’s right here. 
(via Joe Hanson)

    So, this Etsy shop’s business plan is to re-interpret the cast of Downton Abbey as house pets.

    In case you missed Monday’s interview with Downton creator Julian Fellows, it’s right here.

    (via Joe Hanson)

  2. Dad says it's not too late to go to law school

    Downton Abbey

  1. Julian Fellowes on the first time he became aware of the upstairs-downstairs dynamic of the English social classes:


I remember one time when I was quite young … I was staying in a house and I got lost and I went through the wrong door and I was standing at the top of the staircase that led down into the kitchens and everything. And there was a tremendous row going on between what sounded like four or five, six people shouting … And I suddenly had such a powerful sense of the lives being lived by the people who worked there. Not, you know, only the family who lived there, but the people who worked there were also, you know, enjoying life or hating each other or loving each other or whatever.


Image courtesy of PBS View in High-Res

    Julian Fellowes on the first time he became aware of the upstairs-downstairs dynamic of the English social classes:

    I remember one time when I was quite young … I was staying in a house and I got lost and I went through the wrong door and I was standing at the top of the staircase that led down into the kitchens and everything. And there was a tremendous row going on between what sounded like four or five, six people shouting … And I suddenly had such a powerful sense of the lives being lived by the people who worked there. Not, you know, only the family who lived there, but the people who worked there were also, you know, enjoying life or hating each other or loving each other or whatever.

    Image courtesy of PBS

  2. Fresh Air

    Interviews

    Downton Abbey

    Julian Fellowes

  1. Edith With Googley Eyes.
Yes.

    Edith With Googley Eyes.

    Yes.

  2. Edith With Googley Eyes

    Downton Abbey

  1. David Bianculli on Shirley MacLaine’s new role in Season Three of Downton Abbey:



Out of desperation, Cora, his American wife, sends for her wealthy mother to visit, in hopes that the Crawley women can persuade her to finance their lavish lifestyle. The mother, Martha, is played by new cast member Shirley MacLaine, who’s excellent. She doesn’t steal the show — she can’t, not with Maggie Smith already dominating every scene she’s in as Cora’s mother-in-law, the acerbic, sarcastic Dowager Countess — but MacLaine fits in perfectly.


View in High-Res

    David Bianculli on Shirley MacLaine’s new role in Season Three of Downton Abbey:

    Out of desperation, Cora, his American wife, sends for her wealthy mother to visit, in hopes that the Crawley women can persuade her to finance their lavish lifestyle. The mother, Martha, is played by new cast member Shirley MacLaine, who’s excellent. She doesn’t steal the show — she can’t, not with Maggie Smith already dominating every scene she’s in as Cora’s mother-in-law, the acerbic, sarcastic Dowager Countess — but MacLaine fits in perfectly.

  2. Fresh Air

    Reviews

    David Bianculli

    Downton Abbey

    Shirley MacLaine

  1. Downton Abbey: Now available in gingerbread!

    New season starts in January, so it’s time to get ready for more delightful Maggie Smith moments.

  2. Downton Abbey

    gingerbread

  1. Downton Abbey/X-Files theme mashup. (via @treygraham)

    And speaking of your viewing options this Sunday….

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    x-files

  1. On today’s show
we remember cabaret singer Barbara Lea
rebroadcast an interview with Tina Fey
hear from David Bianculli about his weekend TV picks
and
hear David Edelstein’s review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close View in High-Res

    On today’s show

    we remember cabaret singer Barbara Lea

    rebroadcast an interview with Tina Fey

    hear from David Bianculli about his weekend TV picks

    and

    hear David Edelstein’s review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  2. tina fey

    barbara lea

    californication

    downton abbey

    house of lies

    extremely loud and incredibly close