Virginia Barton

16 November 2015: Farewell to “Downty”


16 November 2015


More than ten million watched the last episode of the last series of Downton Abbey. (or “Downty,” as it’s known in our family.) The “Christmas Special” will tie up the loose ends no doubt, and perhaps Edith the wimp will get her man at last.




Was Evensong brought forward by an hour, and dinner postponed as it was when The Forsyte Saga ran for twenty six weeks in 1967? In these days of catch-up and boxed sets and online viewing, probably not.

The two series are on the face of it not dissimilar; but Downton is an unashamedly posh soap (and I can’t imagine reading it), and the Forsytes ignored “downstairs” as far as I can remember. (That was a clumsy “read” if ever there was one; but I of know fans who paid homage at every single address mentioned in the book. In exactly the same way – fans flock to Highclere.)

Viewing the boxed set has the great advantage of cutting out the ads.


As soon as Hallowe’en is over it’s Christmas, the marketing moguls would have us believe. It was only November 8th when the last episode of Downton was shown, but every ten minutes Lady Mary, Carson, and Maggie Smith were interrupted by December 25th. The hapless viewer was strafed with images of opulence and plenty as great as any on the groaning festive boards at the Abbey. All the paraphernalia of Christmas fare from all the leading supermarkets relentlessly paraded, to the last electric green Brussels sprout. Some are built round cute, nostalgic, or feel-good mini-stories, which are fun the first, even the second time; but the endless repetition quickly palls.

Of course marketing folk have to earn an honest crust as does everyone else in the food industry, and I’m not sure this bombardment isn’t a turn-off. If one leads the way, all the others must follow.


If I remember rightly, there were no less than SEVEN ads for Christmas dinners sprinkled throughout that last episode of  Downton Abbey. Not surprisingly, someone said to me the following day:

“It just makes me want to go to sleep on and wake up on January 2nd.”

(Just in time for the New Year Sales!)






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