Downton on the Silver Screen

I went to see Downton Abbey at the cinema in Salisbury yesterday. A day late – had trouble making sure my daughter’s cat was inside the day before, my own fault.

It was quite funny when I got to the cinema. “Where do you want to sit? Is this seat OK?” On the till was a 3-4″ screen, complete with a floor plan on the cinema, and my seat allegedly highlighted. “Er……yes, thanks. Which way is the cinema?”. Just to let the girl know we were probably talking to each other at different levels! And the popcorn. When you visit the cinema as rarely as me, popcorn is OK.

The receipt is printed out, I forget to read it. The cinema door opens outwards. One-handed, the first challenge is getting in whilst holding a carton of popcorn. Dark inside. What seat was it? Darn it, I can’t see the ticket in the dark. I needn’t have worried – as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness I’m in a small, 100-seat cinema, with about 3 other people in there. I sit anywhere, figuring that I can always move myself if someone else discovers I’m in their seat. Nobody else even came into the cinema, as far as I know.

The film starts. No spoilers. If you liked the TV series, you’ll like the film. In fact, not too dissimilar to a couple of the “specials” they made for the TV show, maybe a bit longer. The TV series is fresh in my mind – it finished on mainstream TV in 2015, but I watched the lot on DVD just three or four months ago. Bits of the series were unbelievable (i.e. the storyline could not be believed), but watching how this completely alien world of the British upper class functions was interesting. The lord of the manor is a good guy, in his world. But it’s not the real world.

The film is the same. Extreme opulence, only fleeting reference to the event of the time, the General Strike. A different world.

I noticed some beautiful shots of Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle, presumably taken by drone. I’d like one of those!

The timing of things raises eyebrows. One day, this couple meet. The next day, they’re playing tonsil tennis! So don’t analyse it too closely. But this is also the Feinian who saves the king! That kind-of sums up the film – 2 hours of harmless entertainment, but it’s not going to change the world.


    • I’d never seen any of it until I watched the DVD box-set a few months ago, so the characters were all fresh in my memory. The film might have been a tv special. I found the series in total quite thought-provoking. I never took it massively seriously, but it was interesting to see how the two worlds met. Somebody (the lord) who is fundamentally a good guy in his world, just living in a different one to the rest of us.

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