Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Downton Big House in the Country
I believe the last season of Downtown Abbey has come and gone in Great Britain and is eagerly anticipated in North America, where PBS will once again be the host station. I suppose the Downtown junkies on this side of the Pond have already found a way to view the final episodes.
Have you noticed that there is next to no religion in Downtown Abbey, despite the historical fact that it would have been important in the lives of the aristocracy of that period? I do recollect some huffing and puffing about Roman Catholics by Lord Grantham and a "left-at-the-altar" wedding debacle in a chapel.
There is nothing, however, to suggest that worship and prayer and God Almighty made a scrap of difference in this fictional family's lives. And that is the scrupulously executed intention of the show. There was much soul-searching (can that phrase be used?) about using the word Abbey in the title, which seems absurd. No meal is depicted at its beginning because a blessing would have surely been said, yet can't be shown. Alastair Bruce, the historical advisor entrusted with the task of keeping God out of the Crawley's life comments:
In essence you hardly ever see a table that isn’t already sat at. We never see the beginning of a luncheon or a dinner, because no one was ever allowed to see a grace being said, and I would never allow them to sit down without having said grace. I think that the view was that we’d leave religion out of it, and it would’ve taken extra time too. I suggested a Latin grace, but they decided that was too far, and no one would’ve known what was going on.
Mr Bruce said that he was even banned from featuring napkins folded in the shape of a bishop’s mitre, for fear of breaching the religious edict. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/media/11997169/God-banished-from-Downton-Abbey-says-shows-historical-advisor.html
Why, oh why? Because Britain has become so secular that even these modest historical realities have been expunged so not to offend. Pulleeze. It's crazy because the British still observe Remembrance Sunday in an official way, and royal weddings get the full Church of England treatment in Westminster ABBEY.
My interest in Downtown Abbey waned after the first two remarkable seasons. I suppose I will say a prayer and watch the godless concluding episodes.
Does anyone else find this amusing and bemusing? Is it just not cricket, or a sign of the times?