Downton Abbey

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S1: Right now. Charlotte great. Pay by.

S2: What’s in the box. Yo.

S3: Hello and welcome to Slate’s Spoiler Specials for Friday September 20th. I’m June Thomas. I’m the senior managing producer of Slate podcasts and I am here to talk about Downton Abbey. I’m not going to tell you who I’m with yet because I want you just to be thinking are they bringing back the band is the band getting back together. Yes I’m here with Seth Stevenson Hello.

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S4: Seth Stevenson hello June. It’s like we never left this podcast studio it did.

S3: It’s only been what four years since the last episode of Downton Abbey slunk off of PBS. And yet here we are again ready to talk about the shenanigans upstairs and downstairs.

S5: Times are changing. History rolls forwards. But Downton Downton remains.

S3: I talked about a band that requires musical instruments. Do you have any musical instruments.

S6: June I had my Valot climb deep into the catacombs storage catacombs of Stevenson Abbey to dig out Oh an old instrument.

S4: The bell if you didn’t listen to do today in the past. This is a bell. We would often use to summon hot towels or a small glass of brandy when we needed to. As we podcasting. When I needed my frocks to be adjusted. Which was all the time I ever star as a frog I did podcast if you like I need this ham. It’s down to my heel.

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S7: But I need it further out longer longer. And so if you would ring my Lady Smith.

S8: The seamstress or maybe even the Queen seems Yeah. Yeah. When I really want to nice kleptomaniac to sell me a light fingered seems as the queen we’re already getting ahead.

S3: I’m getting ready for the film so Downton Abbey the television show has been away for four years.

S8: But guess what.

S3: They’ve made a movie they made and we wouldn’t be out of it before we get into spoiling all the things that are to be spoiled. Can I just say I kind of loved going back to Downton and I was thoroughly sick of the thing. By the end of the TV show it just felt like they were repeating repeating repeating themselves. But I was kind of glad to have a little bit of all those old familiar faces an old familiar themes again.

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S6: I fully agree. The TV show had run its course and you and I had felt. To be honest a bit of starting to edge into drudgery and we it was to say the least becoming a bit of a death march at the end as we were recapping these episodes. But a little time away absence makes the heart grow fonder. It certainly does. I was also thrilled. We sat there in the screening room and I didn’t know what to expect. But as as it began and the music swelled up and the cameras swooped over the grand dame that is that house and I’ll yes. And I was once again just transported to another world and I enjoyed it the whole time I was never bored. I was delighted the entire time and an I was left with a warm feeling in my heart.

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S3: I was too. I also you know I did feel like my expertise was coming to bear because the opening scene was an echo of the opening scene of S1 E1. I don’t know if you remember but in the opening scene of the very first episode of the show a telegram was being sent and for the inhabitants of Downton Abbey to tell them that their air and Lady Mary’s fiancee had been lost in the Titanic tragically died and we saw you know they did that and it was like oh my goodness this message needs to be conveyed. And this time we had a message and it was conveyed actually very dramatically and you know wish we saw the the Royal Mail being sorted on a train making its way swiftly northward toward Yorkshire and it was like thrilling. I felt oh an Easter egg that I get to munch on without any need to have my dress pulled out and and yet it was also like a happy instead of this endless kind of you know round and round about the inheritance or an inheritance or the entail and all of that business. This was no potentially at least a happy thing. It was that the king and queen of England King George the Fifth and his wife Mary were going to come to Yorkshire and they were going they wanted to stay at Downton Abbey.

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S6: So when I heard there was going to be a movie first of all I jumped in the air and said Hasan. Azhar. And then I thought about what. Well they said what sort of plot will they centre this film on. And I assumed that it would be some historical event that they would you know how it is. How can we entwine Downton Abbey with some sort of historical event that everyone’s familiar with. Then add some drama through that borrowed interest but instead it was just like this fun visit from the king and queen. And I think that was a great choice actually not to try to like ratchet up the dramatic stakes too much.

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S5: It was basically a fun three episodes of Downton Abbey crammed into one movie and I think it was a really good choice.

S3: Yeah it’s striking that they were able to bring back pretty much everyone who survived to the end of the TV show is back for the movie and that’s kind of too many people to give like real storylines too so some of them like Korra basically just gets nothing some off like off screen conniving.

S5: Yes in them it almost nothing. And it just served to sort of cement that o their relationship is in a good state that is in good hands. Exactly.

S3: So like not everybody got a lot to do but the small stakes. Actually I agree with you said for the most part felt like a relief. Okay so let’s start with those stakes. The royals are coming the royals are coming first we remind them that Carson has left the building he’s now retired he’s working in his garden he’s married to Mrs. Hughes still they appear to be happy but he’s no longer battling no Thomas is the butler in the house but when the royal visit is announced and and you know they they realize it’s gonna be all kinds of things happening. Thomas seems to kind of lose his grip a little bit.

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S4: He gets a little overexcited and so the upshot of this is Mary senses that Thomas Barrows is losing control of the whole situation. And Mary has a freak out and goes to you know to her rock. Carson they’ve always had this close relationship. Mary goes to Carson and says I don’t think Thomas can handle this. Carson will you come back. Now I want to say a few things. First of all this is sort of rude on Mary’s part. I mean she didn’t really even give Thomas much of a chance to find his footing I mean if I got a message saying the king and queen are are coming I would be a little thrown off my game for like a little bit. SMITHSON he still had time to recover and get it together but she just wasn’t going to mess around. She was just like Nope we need Carson here. Carson is the one who can help. I found that a little bit rude on her part a little bit dismissive of Thomas Barrows abilities.

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S6: And I don’t I’m not sure that Carson. Fantastic job. I mean we’ll get into what happens but Carson basically oversees a coup in a really ineffectual way where he doesn’t like manage prevented or try that hard prevented or encouraged. He just kind of sits there and lets a coup happen on his watch. So I wouldn’t say necessarily that we got improved performance right from Carson. The other thing I wanna say about Carson is I don’t think that this movie will garner a lot of Academy Awards interest but I do think there could be one Best Supporting Actor award awarded to Carson’s eyebrows. Oh which were in incredible form amazing had a really evac just an evocative performance from its prowess I felt like that that had me gripped and I felt there was like character development only from the eyebrow the way they behaved at the beginning the waggle at the beginning were different from at the end there was an arc there so they’d really grown an arc they’ve grown and the arc of the eyebrows both the physical arc of them like their shape but also the character arc the narrative arc of the eyebrow was amazing. Well anyway Yeah that’s what I had to say.

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S3: I want to add two things about Carson if I may. So the first is there were two occasions that I noted where they kind of threw out some of the continuity or some of the facts from the show for the movie. One of them was Daisy who just seemed to be living in the house just as much as she always had whereas in fact at the end of the TV show she was off to live with her father in law. Yes. Mr. Mason at the farm but whatever. And then the second thing was that Carson one of the reasons that he left it wasn’t just that he was ready to retire that would be much too sensible. It was that he had developed a sort of palsy and so that he really couldn’t handle the the bottling work anymore and that just seemed to have been forgotten also.

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S4: That very delicate discounting about wine that the king’s page of the backstairs let us not call him a butler the King’s Speech of the backstairs was doing that incredibly delicate casting of wine where he has to turn this little lever or the crank to decant the wine ever so slightly. There’s no way a man with a palsy could have handled that.

S3: But yet that was just forgotten. But I was glad to see Carson. I was 2 0 and the second thing I want to mention about Carson and this is more about this up behind the scenes rather than beneath stairs but another of the storylines in this episode above stairs was involved Violet the Dowager Countess getting into a scheming situation. As always as always with Lady Bagshaw mode Bagshaw who was played by Imelda Staunton great British actress who is also the real life wife of the actor who plays Carson June. These are the kinds of details that you bring to this podcast is a great British actress who’s facing it too as it happens but she wasn’t called upon to do that. This particular time around Okay so back to the plot back to the plot. So as I mentioned Violet dowager countess played by Maggie Smith now has something else to worry about which is whether this person you’ve never heard of before.

S6: Yes I thought as she was introduced I was like was I supposed to know who this is and I suddenly was like my friend I’d forgotten huge patches of the preamble the show.

S3: Always this past credit to the people behind Downton Abbey that they were able to find a and a British actor or actress of stature who had not yet already been cast in danger. I thought everyone else had already been there and Imelda Staunton is one of the rare British actors who kind of toggles between play and posh and common. She does both. Whereas most people are assigned one or the other. So you know the fact that she came in as a posh person in the movie. Maybe that was kind of why she was still available so to speak. But yes she is a royal lady in waiting. You know so she’s minor minor minor aristocracy. She’s a widow. Her husband died in the Boer War but she now is you know one of the Queen Mary’s ladies in waiting. And Violet is trying to persuade her. She’s apparently a distant cousin of Violet and Robert and the crawlies and Violet is trying to persuade her to give her estate to give her inheritance to Robert because he’s her nearest relative. And she is apparently not done with that plan.

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S6: Yes. Heaven forbid there not be some sort of succession drama. You know some sort of inheritance controversy and a card to sell to a will too and entail scheming. Yes. I mean it was I really felt like was this a plot point from the series that I completely forgot because they just introduced so you were exposed I didn’t know that this was happening. Of course this would happen but I’m glad to hear that I had not forgotten about it.

S3: No. And that’s one of the things actually that I was grateful for in the movie that they just acted like everybody knows who everybody is because everybody will. Anybody who sees this movie will have seen the TV show or be on a date with somebody who has but they didn’t. I’m glad they didn’t bother to introduce things because like no no.

S6: Yeah. They I agree. This was this was for veterans this was out for new drapes. No. And so they were like You know what. We all were on the same page here. Here’s a question I had about this inheritance controversy which is isn’t Violet’s son already having trouble with the upkeep on his massive estate isn’t the last thing he needs like another huge estate to deal with and the upkeep and the responsibility to the hanger ons and all the tenants. Like to call them rather than hangers on the tenants tends to be more respectful. I feel like that that’s exactly what he does in. Unless the estate is just a bunch of gold bar sitting in vaults like does he really want more acreage in another leg like pile of bricks that need to be repainted. Like what. Yeah. He didn’t seem that decision.

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S3: I agree. He didn’t seem like he cared.

S6: But we need something for Violet to scheme over and Violet needs more importantly perhaps Violet needs something to scheme for.

S3: You know I’m gonna go a little bit ahead myself and said that I was slightly disappointed in the quality of zingers that were supplied to Violet this episode. Were you satisfied with them.

S6: You had you had zinger or regret. Yeah I just like that.

S3: It just felt a little bit slightly muted not total duds but just like is that the best you got. You remember on the TV show they used to put together entire trailers. Oh yeah that’s her zinger roots.

S6: Oh yes. Here’s how I’ll respond to you. June what people you talk. I don’t even remember she said that somebody said that. But it was a pretty good zinger there. Yeah. No I see I hear what you’re saying. I would rate what you say is 25 percent piffle huh. Oh I think I know what piffle is I get. I actually I still like codswallop you all again. Yeah. Contextually I understand what codswallop and piffle are. I don’t really know what they are. I’m not sure I want to know narrowly what I know. But there was one that that stuck out for me from her which was. What was it. Oh yes. She said well you have enough cliches to get you through the visits which I thought was pretty good. That was a pretty decent zinger zinger. And she also said that somebody compared to the mighty Valley and she said Machiavelli had many qualities.

S8: Those were OK. There were a few decent yellow is also brought into that particular Yeah. I hear you’re saying that I did have to look to my out to be fair I had to look at my notes to find they weren’t just like on the top of my head.

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S3: Yeah. Yeah. And also I have to say I was surprised that below stairs there were people who were given storylines were Thomas which we’ll get to but also Daisy Daisy is really beloved of the Downton Abbey writers and she actually got lines saying things like I mean sometimes it’s things like they’re all mental Ah this is rubbish but also things like we’re not footballs Mr. Bates and we don’t deserve a kick in you know things like that which you know for this show and this this righteous room which as I understand it is just Mr. Felt law excuse me Lord Fellowes then you know that’s that’s what counts is like woo hoo yeah.

S4: Daisy did get a little bit more of a presence than I was expecting she had a fall storyline and everything.

S3: Yeah it was a complete repetition of the thing that she had twice around with William.

S4: That’s true. Lord Fellowes is in one on right now breaking out a brand new set of tools he really likes to just dust off the old tools and nearly word one trick to give it another go. I mean like we said this this movie was for people who’ve seen the show now. I don’t think you wanted something like a radical departure. You wanted the same thing over again.

S3: Yeah and we got it. So thank you Lord fellows. OK so as we sort of hinted at earlier the Royals have come in the king and queen. And then while Thomas is being a bit dithering and Carson is being brought in to sort of help him sort stuff out we learned that in fact. Never mind. This is after we’ve seen Mrs. Patmore and Daisy go down to the local shop where the local greengrocer is just thrilled beyond belief to supply lard and beef stock for the royal meal.

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S6: The highlight of his not just his professional career but of his life June his life. He made it very clear this is the peak of his life indeed is supply some like Chris go yeah.

S3: For the king some tallow and so Mrs. Patmore hasn’t got the heart to tell him. Actually we’re not making the royal meal because what they learn or have learned at that point that actually when the Royals when the king and queen go on tour they bring an entire set of retainers that take care of all that stuff that move in like in an elaborate coordination where one set is like doing the advance work for the next house and this one’s here and as soon as this one gets to set up the house they’re on to like two houses down the line a real military operator that actually kind of made my head hurt a little bit and didn’t totally make sense but we understood a little while later why they bothered to give us all that setup but this delighted me in a way because it gave the downstairs people something to plot about which as we’ve established plotting and scheming is what Carrington’s all about is the fuel. But it was a little aggravating to me but not at all surprising that what the downstairs people ended up getting up in arms about and rebelling about was not the fact that they are vassals to the aristocracy. Oh no but to fight against a whole other set of commoners who are themselves dedicated to serving the aristocracy and in fact while the aristocrats and the royals who we saw were to a man and woman the very soul of gracious sort of less Majesty the servants were just horrible people the steward of the backstairs or whatever snatch of the fuse made the page of the back stairs the woman who Mrs. Webb who was the housekeeper the kleptomaniac and then the latter merely seamstress im sure could bear this the cook were revolting arrogant hideous people turned people and Andy Daisy’s fiancee like tries to sabotage the visit by rooting the boiler in a fit of pique it’s like they’re all just these like it can’t control their emotions rough around the edges get arrested not not Thomas’s fault but yes they’re like rabble rousing hotheaded rabble as opposed to the serene yes exactly gracious people upstairs let’s get into the broader politics a bit later but yes the politics of this I found extremely annoying. Yes another person I was surprised who made a comeback to serve the royals and eventually did so was Mosley who had finally been given a little bit of dignity and a vocation at the end of the TV show when he was found to be of all things a sort of like a as a teacher savant like he was the world’s greatest educator and so he found some direction away from like being a servant and he yes exactly some dignity some self-worth but no the kingly job drop everything.

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S6: Allow me to prostrate myself excited for them allow me to meet like literally curtsy and lose all dignity oh and a decade ago.

S3: Gone gone gone but anyway so he also got the story.

S5: I just I do want to tell our listeners Junot I watch this in a screening room together in Manhattan and we sat as each other and we joked we had a great time. And when Mosley showed up on screen June what models.

S8: Got so excited really at its own experience. Yes. And I was like Oh. But also models.

S3: Yes. Okay. So there is something which I’ll just mention. But it was so pointless that even by Downton standards it seems like like the equivalent of like the tail that we all have somewhere fastidiously on our persons and our skeletons. Which was that Princess Mary the Princess Royal. The the the king and queens oldest daughter s who I Wikipedia. So I prepared. Good. She now lives up north. She now lives in heroin.

S9: I believe that the next big house over married to a gruff cold bath LaSalle 15 years her senior who is just a dick. Yeah like there’s no other word for just likes to hunt and ignore his children and be it. Oh and so like the Queen when when Lady Mary and cor.

S3: And I guess Grandma can’t remember. Come over and they are kind of worried about because they’re I guess the word is out that she’s not happy. And then she is so clear that when the children are brought in like off schedule. But still the children are brought in. She is just transformed. Her face lights up. She clearly loves adores her children. And then her husband comes in and kicks out the kids because kids aren’t allowed in the drawing room until 6 pm or something. And so she’s very unhappy. He’s a he’s a horrible controlling husband.

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S4: There’s like something else happens but it’s like what is the point of was very weird to bring in that real life character and the only arc there is that she is convinced by Tom Branson to stay with her terrible husband which is odd. It’s like they wanted to have a real life royal who they could have the people of Downton somehow like affect her life. But then the effect on her life was like that nothing will change and she’ll stay with this terrible man who she should stay away. I also felt she was sort of carefully when I Wikipedia at her and learned a little bit about she did not go to Queen Elizabeth’s wedding in protest because the Duke of Windsor was not invited to the dictator was not invited to the wedding and so in protest. Princess Mary did not go to Queen Elizabeth’s wedding. Well he was her brother of course. Yes he is a brother now. So she had a soft spot for him but she is remembered as in like an an uncontroversial royal. I guess she didn’t have too many black marks against her. You know maybe not attending the wedding but there are people understood why she wouldn’t attend the wedding. It’s basically like a very uncontroversial royal so I guess they felt they could bring her in without really saying too much one way or the other and then have a storyline where like Tom Branson changes the path of her life in which the path just continues right.

S3: And then we know of course that in the current generation now we’re at the stage where royals divorce but not to the world hadn’t changed that much.

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S5: Yes the Branson at times are changing but not fast enough. Princess Mary.

S3: Exactly. So the other thing that’s happening with the royals they’re going to have dinner at Downton Abbey they arrive in a single car.

S6: It’s like they had no. They just arrive in one motor car. The kicking queen. Thank you ladies and gentlemen. There’s like no entourage at all it just seemed really that seemed odd to me.

S3: Poor security to which will be a bit of a thing it will it will. But yeah they arrive they’re going to come and stay at downturn and they’re they’re going to see a parade the Yorkshire Hussars are going to parade in front of them. So the King’s going to be on his horse and they’re going to be you know I guess his finery and his finery and then the next day there’s gonna be a ball at hair wood and that’s the thing that involves the royals.

S6: It’s a parade a dinner and then the next day at a different house and different venue that that day that the servants of down are not responsible for one day there will be a ball. Indeed that’s the order of events. And then they will move the tour will continue.

S3: Exactly. They come here everything’s fine they’re kind of nice but then there’s this plot line which I have to say my heart sank when this grim faced major major chocolate Chitwood. Yes Major Chitwood shows up and takes an interest in Tom Branson and it just felt like the worst elements of the show. We didn’t quite see his horns but like he just was presented like oh look he’s a bad guy you know he’s wearing a hat and skulking around.

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S8: No no no he’s skulking but he is you know trench coat and it just has a face that looks like Oh you’re up to no good.

S3: Rather a handsome chap but he was clearly being given the baddie edit. So like there’s some bullshit with Tom but we’re just sort of like any Irish you say which is just about as much credit as I can give it. But basically Tom’s loyalty was being tested Tom the Republican the Republican who we know when he first came to to Downton was an Irish Republican and he eventually married of course your favorite lady Sybil was widowed lady Sybil was widowed stayed on at Downton became you know no he he and Mary’s husband he was weirdly absent during the movie how was it come were the guys making a movie and they’re like you can’t be in the episode we go we offer a brief unconvincing explanation for his absence. And then it was the end and also his name by contractual obligation I can only assume is above Maggie Smith’s credit. So it’s Matthew Goode Maggie Smith you think that is weird that’s so straight.

S4: I wonder what he had to do that was so important that you couldn’t show up with Lady Mary and Lady Mary. Got a nice new Bob by the way let’s not forget a really nice new Bob for this movie and yet Matthew Goode couldn’t be bothered to show up and support her. ANYWAY I’M NOT TAKING THIS NO accelerates Branson and Mary are sort of jointly running the Downton race state keeping their books he and her husband have cars sort of automotive enterprise.

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S5: I don’t even fully understand what it is and yes like in an alley he’s got like car stuff.

S3: Exactly. But clearly he is still loyal and his daughter Sebi hangs out with Mary’s kids with the Marchioness is in town like she hangs with the kids of her generation and so clearly he is loyal to the Israeli family entered into the family quite clearly but then when somebody comes to town with nefarious purposes he immediately seeks out Tom. But then in a in a most dysentery way that I can’t possibly even give credit to Tom when the king is completely open and available for shooting on this horse wide open why there are no security no nobody nobody even looking down a back alley Tom single. Well actually not quite single handedly because Mary who is distrustful of Tom kind of chases him and gets in the way when Tom brings down major major Chatwin or major Chitwood. And you know is wrestling over the gun Mary swoops in and grabs the gun and major Chitwood is arrested and the king is saved and like yeah there you go.

S6: That whole storyline which was like the B story The seat the C minus in so I don’t know what but it’s like Tom maybe Tom is going to be just like maybe the guy is like a private investigator checking on Tom’s royalty on behalf of what we’re keeping is supposed to wonder then and we’re not sure. But then it turns out he’s plotting against the king and trying to rope time into his mother plot. But Tom’s not having it but Mary suspects that maybe Tom is going to be disloyal and he’s worried about that. And then it’s the quintessential Reg aside attempt I’ve ever heard. Like one guy with like a little pistol gets like wrestled. Why did Tom not like alert the authorities first of all why did he try to just all just handle this. Yeah it seems like I’m just going to handle this reg aside attempted to thwart it myself which made no sense why wouldn’t you have made no sense. I can’t even attempt to outrun the authorities and then he like wrestles the guy to the ground. But the kit but there was actual like the king was in grave danger of being shot at from like 20 feet away by this guy. Because that was weird.

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S3: O’REILLY I do love the alternate history that this presents because if King George the fifth had been shot right then and killed maybe King Edward the eighth would have succeeded before he met Wallace Simpson and the course of history would be a fascinating counterfactual. But that was not I hasten to add suggested or even hinted that in this in the movie. But well I think my mind was wondering at that point it’s really silly.

S6: I think they needed some kind of action scene right. They want out some sort of like kinetic physically robust action scene and so they created this like registered attempt which was really silly because. But like the second most dramatic like action scene was putting a tarp over chairs in a rainstorm saying they looking that. Could we get the tarp over these chairs while it’s raining. That was like the second best action scene to happen. Which I’m fine with I don’t need Downton to have big action scenes.

S3: I could have done without the actors because remember the trenches in World War One.

S8: Oh yeah. Yeah.

S6: How was tartly tarps and rains silly although Tom’s barrels still has his little hand cast. Yeah it does. Years 10 years a decade later a decade to himself right there and cast. Is this a good time to talk about the politics and we’re talking about Tom Branson and publican Irish devotees and all that. So I was sort of fascinated by that. It’s not a silly action scene but because of the politics of this and the politics of no because it’s right because it’s because the TV show ended pre Trump pre Brexit and now correct. Right. Yes. And so this is downtown’s first stab at a new plot line post Brexit post Trump and I don’t want to read too much into it. But Lord Fellowes has his has his inclinations and I wondered how he might try to vaguely incorporate this into the Downton universe and what he did was have Tom Branson who’s got you know who’s always sort of tried to balance his loyalty to Ireland with his loyalty to this aristocratic family and he gives this big speech in the film that’s sort of like a climactic emotionally climactic speech in the film which he which he gives to Princess Mary and the import of the speech is you know what I might have my disagreements politically with these folks but they’re good people. Well let’s just set them aside and I am just going to submerge all my personal feelings about justice in order to just let these aristocrats do what they want to do. And just like let things roll on and it really felt to me like a bit of a horrid comment on the politics of our polarized politics today that we should all set aside our incredibly are very legitimate important differences about justice and outcomes and just get on with each other.

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S3: You might say that Tom was the Irish backstop. I mean it was just it was there. I think that’s something that we see over and over again in Downton and have forever that for obvious reasons. There’s a there’s an under line conservative that is so strong that the only thing that you’ll ever hear is but individuals with good hearts people who are doing their best to you know keep this entire system going for a little bit longer. And of course we know that that system can’t go on forever.

S6: Unjust. Yeah. Equitable system that they are trying to preserve is like oh but they’re really good people. They’re really good. And you know what they are. Yeah. I love the Dowager Countess. She’s a great person. But you know.

S3: Yeah well or even showing us the shopkeeper. Which of course is historically accurate. You would of course have gotten your food from the local greengrocer but I kind of had this feeling of light. Well I use are you setting that up against what will come. You know 100 years later of you know basically big international supermarkets outside of the towns where you have to get into a car and go and do it like where the local shops have gone the high streets are all the same. Like there was also a little bit of you know that conservatism which also is inevitable and yeah you know your local greengrocers are great but Aldi is cheaper.

S6: In the end the only thing about about this this is more about just like that downtown and this and this film and what it was doing in this now shift to something I I liked about it was like a registered attempt a massive political decision.

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S5: All of these were actually only done in service of like making the characters have a good you know outcome like Tom Branson becomes like a really good guy because he stopped the king from being murdered right Ed and because he was able to set his politics aside and like for the good of the family. And so it lets him have this nice moment another political thing which I don’t want to shoot our fox. This is a British phrase I learned recently shooting our Foxy is that is that like a widespread one or two. I just learned from a eccentric English person possibly the latter possibly. Well I guess my understanding is that you shoot your Fox is like to kind of like step on your own ask you your own right. So shoot your fox till you get rid of your shutter on Fox so any anyway not to shoot our fox. Maybe we’ll get into more later but but also like Thomas Barrow getting arrested in the in the gay bar is like it. It’s not presented as like a chance to comment on that unlike the horrid like social norms of the day it’s a chance for Barrow to like learn a little lesson and come out OK.

S3: Yes I had that that scene of that little section I was up and down about it. So what happens is Thomas goes with one of the royal servants who’s kind of dismissed because he’s on the next like the next batch he’s already done the IS advance work in his movie he’s about to move on to the next place and do the advanced work so he gets to go to York to visit his monks he’s got a night off and since Thomas has been usurped by Carson he’s got an eye off too so they go off to York and the guy has to go see his mother. So Thomas is in a pub and a guy is making eyes at him and Thomas has been in this situation before. And so when the guy invites him somewhere you know he goes along. He’s happy to go along but he is thrilled and shocked and surprised to find that this sort of proto gay bar in York his eyes are open to a whole new world.

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S6: He didn’t know existed with these men dancing with the other and just kissing and being open like some of them are.

S3: Some of them aren’t they’re all handsome and it does seem like paradise and it’s joyful and happy and for a man who really has not had that much opportunity for happiness.

S6: It’s wonderful it was kind of nice and he he’s just talking about his delight and I didn’t know this existed. Exactly.

S3: And then income the cops which again is real. But you know is obviously was a tragedy of immense scale. You know when it was illegal to do what they were doing and right up until the 70s I guess. And so you know it is a dangerous situation we know of course that the folks at Downton. ROBERT No everyone at Downton knows about that. Thomas is gay and they tolerate it. But if he had been charged prosecuted then that would mean wash your hands. Yeah that would make him a felon. And so you know it would have had serious consequences. But because the guy who took into York is a member of the royal household he’s able to pull strings to Flash’s royal box his royal card get him out of jail I guess or that the holding cells and then they go off and have and it turns out this fellow is also gay.

S5: He owes this to Thomas and it’s kind of cute. And so it ends up Thomas being like well what a little adventure I had and I was an idea I’d spent like a couple hours in jail. That’s OK. And I met this nice guy. Maybe we’re gonna see each other again. So. So instead of like the outcome being like what a tough life it was for gay people at this time the outcome is like Tom’s had a little adventure and he ended up better than he was before.

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S3: Exactly. And you know and again it’s great that Thomas has well he’s like the guy really likes him. They have sex. They you know they like each other. They’re gonna have a relationship that’s wonderful but. Oh did we have to like go through this big social thing that just became a just something to tie within in the storyline.

S5: But anyway same thing with Branson I feel like I have the politics yet again. It’s like this huge thing that’s happening historically I like it but it’s just a way to make that Branson feel good about myself and like get you know cemented ties with the family.

S3: Exactly. I want to mention one tiny thing which which actually delighted me maybe the most of the whole movie which was that when the king and queen were at the parade or whatever the Yorkshire facades played in Claymore which is an old Yorkshire song on Oakley Mo bets that we addressed have been since I saw the chemo all bets that keep going.

S8: You’re just going to never stop. Let’s just have the West London Regiment and then things like that.

S3: And then of course it’s a song about how a lot they’ll catch their death a code and pardon me. Then we shall have to bury them. And then worms or the worms delete the up and then we’ll eat worms. So it’s a song essentially about cannibalism but it’s an old Yorkshire song. And even though this show is set in Yorkshire and a few of the characters a few have Yorkshire accents it always felt to me that again the North is also being used misused and so to actually hear a Yorkshire tune by that played by the the masked band of the Yorkshire hussars did feel all and I was singing along. I don’t know if you could hear but I was singing Oh I could hear yeah OK good. So there’s the the user patient and Mr Bates they all know Mrs Hughes to the downstairs queue.

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S6: We’re not footballs June and we don’t deserve a kicking and as Daisy says and so they decide they’re not going to to because because these royal servants are really giving them the high hat. Yeah incredibly powerful naughty and and it’s the narcissism of small differences. Yes. And they are just taking their like little elevated status and lording it over the Downton staff and the Downton staff would not put up that on the down staff. I feel justifiably thinks they know the house better. Yes they know the the people better. They know the house better. What let us do our thing and why wouldn’t the king and queen want a taste of of Yorkshire. Why wouldn’t they want a taste of Downton hospitality. It’s like you’re travelling in a bubble. So I do think that the Downton staff was right to mount this coup. Absolutely.

S3: And the fact is when the page of the backstairs settings page of The King’s Speech about when he said that Downton was a minor provincial house and that our friends the servants were serving an undistinguished family it was when we said why you don’t have armor you.

S8: I stood up in my seat and threw my notebook at the screen. You sure did. You remember that. I do think that you were removed and then we checked. Yeah. And you had to bail me out and show you that right royal car. I read it was the whole thing.

S6: Yeah. No I like that guy. But he was a good villain. Yeah.

S3: He’s he always is I was watching as I do an old Midsomer Murders last night and he. He was a a bicycle.

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S4: You know that’s you know what I just saw him in Saturday night for some reason I watch for weddings and a funeral the 1994 Hugh Grant any model vehicle good. He was good he was.

S3: We did a great job I had not as high handed servant yeah those servants who had those thankless roles were all good. Okay. So we need to probably get a little bit of a move on.

S8: So but the the White fellows never does that exactly kind of like this. Yeah. And if our podcast is as long as the movie it’s not really such a bad thing.

S5: So the Downton servants get rid of the royals send some of them off on a trail of each other swapping draft the king’s patient backstairs they lock him in his room they send all the servants off on a wild goose chase after making a prank phone call. Yeah and so the Downton staff is going to handle the visit.

S3: They are and they get to put on the royal livery that makes them loot like Tory adores.

S4: Where does that stuff that stuff is just kept in the catacombs somewhere and is brought out. Like when. Once every like 40 years when the king and queen come to visit. I guess mean dying.

S3: I’ve got one in my drawer. But along with my slate like office sweater you know for when it gets colder.

S5: I love the thought my Brooklyn apartment like I have like walk in like one of the closets way in the back. I got my royal livery that I bring out once every few decades.

S3: I would need the kleptomaniac leg is made to adjust mine slightly since the last time I wore it. So yeah. So they serve dinner mostly makes a fool of himself.

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S6: Mostly addresses the queen directly directly. Really should have now even I know American commoner knew that that was bad for Mosley you directly addresses the queen and then curtsy Rex. Which gender fluid like an icon whatever. But at that time I feel was maybe a faux pas. Yeah that’s all arts. Yeah. But but it wasn’t. It was like a he had good intention because he was trying to inform the Queen that hey it wasn’t your chef who made this. It was Mrs Patmore and then I think the queen says our compliments to Mrs Patmore. Or maybe the King does ask. He mentions Mrs out more in saying what a great meal she made.

S3: Yeah. Her name was on their lips. Exactly. Amazing. Okay so that happens the other most ridiculous storyline is that the kleptomaniac lady’s maid is is found out by Anna who of course is knows everything can do anything and is persuaded to take in Lady this dress the wrong parcel has been delivered I knew that was going to be something because they kept saying What is he this dress worthy this dress. And it came and it was you know like big enough for like all of the sisters to wear including the body of Lady civil engineer. I.

S8: Get that was all right. He get laid he said Yeah I’m not your mouth exactly. And so like thank you for doing that. And no disappeared please because that was a pointless storyline.

S4: Otherwise why was that who it was that even to serve what you did was it was it the point that even the Queen’s servants are also like of poor moral character and the like I didn’t understand that and why like and then I don’t even remember seeing the dress at the ball like it was just so pointless pointless. But for as much as I love Imelda Staunton and Thomas tuppence Middleton who of course most recently seen by me at least on Sensei that one of the greatest shows of the last few years please watch lady bag shows holding out on giving her inheritance to rub it because she wants to give it to her maid who she calls by her first name which scandalized these people you don’t call her by her surname she’s not Smith she’s Lucy is Lucy and we learn.

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S6: What do we learn sir. Well I thought they were setting it up that in fact they had a romantic relationship for a moment. I did too. I thought they were setting it up that she was was sort of hiding her girlfriend. Yeah. As as well as it which have been a great storyline right. I thought that’s what was going on but no it turned out that in fact it was her daughter her illegitimate daughter who she was concealing.

S3: Yes so she’d had an affair with a commoner and the commoner had been killed in the Boer War. Lady Bagshaw had gone off to America to have the child had brought her back to England had educated her but in a local school you know not like cough and had hired her as her maid and had told her when she was 18 and blah blah blah and you know that. And so this woman Lucy like Tom Branson was sort of oddly between classes.

S4: She’s on the precipice of make of climbing socially and she’s trying to deal with it and she finds a very sympathetic year in Branson who has made this leap himself from a chauffeur to member of the family. And so they get on very well but it’s not just it’s not just that they understand each other situations. There is a spark there.

S3: Yes. And you know the thing that was this is a controversial view perhaps but in the early seasons certainly the first and second one thing that Downton did incredibly well was love affairs. Romances. It wasn’t a rom com although I guess there was some calm but like it they had really great lives.

S5: And Mary and Cousin Matthew marry Emily the reason that Downton became Downton exact the season one row M.G. Mary because Matthew was what made the show a legitimately good show at times and what really drew in the masses and why I liked it and I think you that I think did. It was just it was great. Yes legitimately great. And once he died the show was never really the same. Yeah. And it was just like a few feet after echoes of that.

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S3: Yeah. And you know Sybil and Tom. That was also you know it’s a forbidden romance that was decent wasn’t quite on the scale of Mary and Matthew. But still it was decent. And then after a while they kind of once those love stories are gone away something very key to the show just the show went down in quality when there was no more like love sizzle. And this movie it tried to have two romances the one with Tom and Lucy and the one with Barrow and I’m afraid I don’t remember the member of the royal household name and not one between me and Carson’s eyebrow. Exactly. Exactly. And I guess Daisy and Andy although that really does not seem like it should is a relationship that should happen like they just they just didn’t manage that they couldn’t pull that off they just didn’t have any spark that didn’t have any sizzle.

S6: Tom and Lucy one wasn’t established at all. It’s sort of like he liked the look of her great and then that but like they and they had like a couple of quick conversations but it just wasn’t really down. She just she had a very winning smile and like a kind of like wrote on that. And is that right. Good.

S3: And they were dancing outside just as you’ll remember Mary once had a classic outside dance with somebody or other I remember snowfall of a good outside dance but it just wasn’t the same light you see what they were trying for. But yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. And I’m not even going to give again I keep saying I’m not going to give credit to. But there’s also the storyline with Edith getting pregnant her husband the market.

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S4: I don’t know. That’s the lowest of stakes like you might need to go on a work trip for a little while. Oh he doesn’t think. Good night Cora.

S3: Okay so that happened but then the final reveal was something that was high stakes and I didn’t really know why it had been revealed and it upset me Gallagher countered. So I would just see yes. So she reveals that in the first section she disappeared off to London which seems strange to me because it’s not like she just pops to London she’s not that kind of girl and she didn’t say what she was doing. She was very vague and then she at the ball at heroine she takes Mary aside and she says I need to tell you what it was. It was some medical tests and I’m afraid what can be with you very much longer but you will kind of carry on my spirit anointing you to be the future craggy old woman of downtown and to carry on. Yes is the holder of the zingers and like hey you know okay maybe it was to get some tears going. It actually didn’t for me even though as much as I adore Violet do you like it just it felt like just not the way you convey that in a drama fell flat and like there were no hints of her failing health at all.

S5: You seemed just exactly the same as she always been and she’s just like there’s no like outward sign and she just says oh by the way I’m dying I don’t have to live like that. Now let’s go dance. Don’t worry about it not a big deal and be do.

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S3: And so I just kind of wondered why did they do that. I think it was to give us tears but also I think maybe there’ll be more downturns and they just kind of wanna give us a heads up. Yeah.

S4: Don’t expect Maggie Smith and the next heads up we may not be able to agree to contract terms.

S3: SMITH For the next one after this and we want to give ourselves an out exactly which you know great because I’m there like I know you’re about to have another child and I suspect that you know the he might be going to Downton Abbey 17 you know just before he heads up calling me home. Exactly. But yeah that just kind of didn’t do it for me.

S4: Yeah well this is so they ends the film with Carson saying oh you know there’s simply a conversation about well what’s going to happen to Downton is 1927 as we in the year of the film analyze what’s going to happen down in Carson says oh Downton will be here a hundred years hence and I get nothing will change and this will live on forever and of course we know with it you know it’s now almost a hundred years later that that’s this is not exactly how things went down. Yeah I looked it so there are some other comparable some cops oh for Downton mentioned in the film if you if you were if you recall they were like the image these comparable houses area Del and Blenheim. Yeah. And one other one chap Chatsworth. Yes yes. Yeah. Which is to me always the town in the San Fernando Valley where they filmed pornography.

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S3: Oh it to me is where the Duchess of DaVinci who was one of the Mitt four daughters lived until Paris.

S6: OK. Well I so they mentioned those comps. Yeah. And I looked up what did become of those real life homes and what’s a one of them. I couldn’t really tell what happened to Aaron Dahl but but Blenheim they had the way that they saved it was one of the Heirs married an American of belts Paris in order delay get the money in order to the upkeep. I don’t know exactly what’s going on with that has now yet one of the great Catholic families of Britain if I remember correctly. Oh okay. And I think the family may even still really live there and like most of the most in Chatsworth they it’s mostly like great museum grounds open to the public but like some Duke pays market rent for his rooms in it which I find so like so I like a kind of a what a quaint funny story that there’s dislike like Duke was like you know 17 generations removed from the builders of the House he’s like paying market rent for some three bedroom apartment.

S5: Right.

S3: Well that’s often the case that no they’re owned by the National Trust and maybe the family still live in them as much as anything else to still have that air of royalty or not they’re not actually royals but error of kind of gentry but they yeah they literally rent a room or two you know have the public trading through or another thing that they sometimes do is rent out their house for filming shows like Downton Abbey. Yes. So that might be another option for Downton in a hundred years.

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S5: Yes. Well they I think the ended that we know that we’re supposed to sort of you know not at the irony of him saying oh we’ll be a hundred years and we know that you know things aren’t going to exactly go the way Carson thinks they’re going to go but the movie very specifically chooses this year 1927 where I’m sure lots of things are happening but like to the modern audience like that you don’t see 1927 of course. That’s when this happened. Nothing in particular is happening. It’s just this like quiet interlude. Yes there’s this has six times I’ve got the King but you know it’s thwarted before anything happens and the king is very becomes fond of Branson and says Oh I think I owe you one chap for saving my life just like I think it was a very conscious decision to set it in this quiet interlude where nothing much is happening and we can just luxuriate in this different time and different world and I think again as we said I think that was a great choice. It left me with a wonderful feeling and you know what. June I would happily do this with you again. Not to me more than two years but less than seven years from now I would happily luxuriate in another couple hours of Downton with you.

S3: Me too.

S6: And do you recommend it to our listeners if you are Downton fan which if you’re still man you are six minutes into this podcast about this film you are for sure a Downton fan if that’s you.

S5: Yes definitely. I’m sure you’ve already seen this movie but if you haven’t. Yes. This movie is for you. I’m gonna go ahead and preemptively recommend you know the next the sequel. Years from now because I think I’ll just do the same thing again and I’ll be happy to see everybody again and you know what. Let’s just carry on.

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S3: Yeah. And I wonder who Daisy will be you know hesitating down the aisle with them who knows what’s that.

S7: What’s happening here. Oh I’m being summoned. I’ve got to go. Oh God. A bell from the Dowager Countess is ours.

S4: I think she needs you to draw a bath.

S7: I do. She wants me to. She wants me to polish her zingers. Oh she’s quite insistent that it’s. She just keeps ringing. Okay.

S3: Well thanks everyone for listening. Please do subscribe to the spoiler special feed and we’ll be back with you in two weeks time discussing some other movie or perhaps TV show or who knows maybe even a podcast. Thank you for listening. Thank you sir. Thank you. June.