Saturday, December 28, 2013

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey (Emma Rowley)

Like everyone on the planet (it seems), I am obsessed with this British TV import. While the USA has certainly churned out its fair share of great, "make you think" shows, I've really been into Brit entertainment lately (Broadchurch was one of my favorite shows of 2013).  Maybe it's the accent...who knows?

Emma Rowley's Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey does exactly what its name implies.  This is a must-read for those who love the show as much as I do, as it takes you backstage to see how the show is filmed. Much of the reason why Downton Abbey is so successful is because it is meticulous about making sure every detail is correct.  They even go so far as to have a historian on set, because in a house that big it really mattered how things were done.  No detail is too small, from making sure the footmen serve dinner on the correct side and that the Marcel wave isn't introduced too early to be historically inaccurate.  From the costume designers to the makeup artists to the prop masters, everyone ensures that this is a true period piece.

Rowley spends just as much time going behind the scenes with the servants as with the family.  As fans of the show know, the house could never run as smoothly as it does without Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore, and the rest.  It's interesting to learn that the servants' quarters are filmed not at Highclere Castle, but at a studio a fair distance away.  But of course, you would never know that just by watching the effortlessly edited show.  These little tidbits make Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey a blast to read for faithful viewers.