Monday, December 29, 2014

DOWTON ABBEY, THEY’RE BACK!



Downton Abbey fans, get ready for season 5 of this addicting British Comedy-Drama on PBS.  I had the opportunity of attending an event in Manhattan.  I’ll let you hear about from my friend, Enid.

“So I admit it.....I adore Downton Abbey! I wish it aired more episodes and didn't have to wait so long between seasons.  I blame my friend, Doreen, for getting me hooked on it. When she and her husband, Jeff, were watching the first season, she kept raving about the show, but I was kind of resistant. After the season aired, Doreen ordered the DVD from PBS and loaned it to me. I decided to see why they were so enthralled with the show, so one day I loaded the disc into my laptop and ended up binge-watching the entire first season in one sitting. I was hooked! Been eagerly anticipating every season since, plus watching reruns whenever I can.”

Now my dear friend, Merle, who I've known over fifty years (!!!), patiently listened to my kudos for Downton Abbey. Being a journalist, she was able to obtain past seasons of DA through PBS, and guess what? Yup, she got hooked! So fast-forward a year, and Merle gets an invitation from PBS for a media event in NYC to preview the upcoming fifth season of Downton Abbey, and some of the cast will be on a panel onstage for Q&A. Turns out, she can bring a guest!”

Helllloooooo! Guess who got to attend as her guest?? I was so excited! We met up at the lobby of the theater where the event was being held, and there were life-sized cardboard cutouts of some of the major players (Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Carson), so we took some photos of us with them. 







We had some hors d'oeuvres and drinks and went to our seats. The orchestra level of the theatre was where the show's sponsors were seated, and the media people were on the first mezzanine. Great seats, by the way, except for the long steep staircase to climb up there.”

Anyway, the event began with two women from PBS talking about upcoming new PBS shows this season (a few looked interesting… may check them out), and then they showed the first episode of DA's new season, which begins Jan. 4th. After that, they introduced the moderator of the panel -- Jenna Bush Hager, and she introduced Alistair Bruce, the show's historical consultant, then the actors who portray Mrs. Hughes, Lady Edith, Lord Grantham, Thomas (booooo!), Mrs. Patmore, and then Gareth Neame, the producer.”

The actors look so amazingly different out of their DA personas! The moderator asked questions of each of the panelists and the audience was just eating it up! Alistair Bruce offered so much information about the attention to detail within the show's production, and the cast was personable and funny. Merle and I were snapping photos constantly. At the conclusion, we made it back down the long steep staircase and then were offered handouts of hundreds of individual DA teabags and coasters, plus cookies with the PBS logo and a tag for another upcoming show (a British baking show).”

While we were standing outside, who walks out but "Thomas", and then "Lord Grantham" (Hugh Bonneville), and then "Mrs. Patmore"! Merle starts talking to Hugh Bonneville about how she adores "Notting Hill", a movie from 1999 in which he appeared, and which she has seen 25 times. He looks at her and replies, "You poor sad woman!" Too funny! And then - duh!- neither Merle nor I had the brains to take out our cameras and snap photos of him standing right next to us!!!!! Stupid stupid stupid!! Anyway, it was an amazing night and I'll never forget it, with many thanks to my dear friend Merle.”

Following the season’s first episode, watch “The Manners of Downton Abbey”.   Starting, Jan.18th, a new Masterpiece mystery, “Grantchester” will follow Downton Abbey.  A preview was shown at the event and can be seen online.  www.pbs.org

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