Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

image for Downton Abbey - Super Job Well Done Not quite... (when are we getting a f***** decent picture researcher? ed.)

So, once again, the flower of British manhood marches off to teach the Kaiser a lesson.

For the umpteenth time in TV history the world will never be the same again, as those who used to know their place will emerge from the Great War demanding their voice in society.

Despatches from the front will be greeted with joy and despair while those left at home will pray desperately for the safety of a husband, son, brother, sweetheart…

Yes, Downton Abbey ended its first season on Sunday with the declaration of war with Germany in 1914.

In a slight change from the usual course of early twentieth century soap, however, much was resolved in the final episode as a second season was only commissioned while the first series was on air. So we weren't left wondering if Bates would survive the vicious scheming of O'Brien and William.

But of course there is plenty of scope for the new series.

If it begins during while the war still rages, writer Julian Fellowes can bring us all the fears and hopes the nation felt during the conflict.

If he chooses to start after the guns have fallen silent, we at least have three sisters still seeking husbands in what we know was a very difficult market - their male peers of the officer classes were cut down in horrific numbers.

Anyway, it's been a terrific ride. Simple, not-at-all-demanding drama for a Sunday evening, full of familiar characters modelled for us by even more familiar actors.

Let us not say it was great TV - it wasn't: it didn't break any new ground or stretch the form in any way. Nor should we get carried away with Maggie Smith (as some have been wont to do): this was not the great dame giving us all a master class in TV acting - she could have phoned her performance in… Lady Bracknell by the numbers.

But it was so watchable - and a nice break from the usual ITV Sunday nostalgia-fest. I'm usually down the pub but Downton Abbey became a Sky+ must in our house.

For once, thanks, ITV.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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