I suppose the water cooler talk on the return to work will be all about Downton Abbey. If you work somewhere normal that is – no one speaks by the water cooler near my office. It’s an entirely private experience. Anyway, I digress…
Did I watch Downton? Well, yes I did. I’m not a huge fan – allergic to bonnet drama – but did wade through the previous episodes and have a vague but hopefully sufficient idea of who is who and what is what. I may be about to prove that a complete lie!
Bates is in jail or gaol or clink or prison. He’s been eating well in there hasn’t he? Conveniently his trial was slotted in between the shooting and the servants’ ball – good of the courts to sit in the hols just to expedite the plot. And of course the upstairs toffs would have flocked there in support, waving their pom poms and starting the Mexican wave, free the Downton one and all that. Rather more likely they’d have both been sacked with alacrity and without a reference. But let’s not get too hung up on historical accuracy or we’ll be here all night. I don’t care – I’ve nothing else on.
After the good folks of Downton had done their level best to condemn Bates to every hell possible the judge had no choice but to pop on his black cap and pronounce the death sentence. There was weeping and lamenting and the consideration of an appeal. Luckily this was swiftly resolved, a reprieve obtained all within, well, minutes. Just so the New Years Eve servants’ ball could continue unaBATEd. Sorry. The servants all produced some decent frocks and amazing dancing abilities and were whisked around the floor by their various employers to the strains of a small orchestra who were luckily without a festive booking and available at short notice. How lovely, no side at all, not a scrap of historical accuracy to get in their way!
Best use of a spurious prop ever? I know, let’s use the Ouija board – sorry the planchette – that has popped up from nowhere to convince the daft kitchen maid to GO TO THE FARM. No one will realise… It’s been in the kitchen all along.
Honestly. Did you never spot it? Me neither.
Nigel Havers charmed his way in for a spot of upstairs/downstairs dalliance. You just know he’s going to be a cad of the very first order from the moment he opened his mouth. And he was. No fortune, fiddling with the maid – disgraceful, do pass the smelling salts. Banished, of course, but not until the morning train. How terribly civilised.
Finally we were near the end, I’d grown several years older and it snowed. Not cold snow judging by the lack of goose pimples around the edges of Lady Mary’s frock but enough to give a suitable setting for Drippy Matthew to propose (again). And not just because his mother told him to. Or probably because his mother told him to. Luckily his mysterious unmentionable injuries have gone unmentioned for some time and we have to assume all is in proper working order. An heir and a spare please and look snappy. Unless he knows he’s protected from the Lady Mary’s seemingly voracious appetites with some lingering war wounds that might just stop him going the same way as Pamuk…
Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess got all the best lines as always. When the panto villain newspaper magnate (bet he was hacking the telegrams) said they would never meet again her instant riposte of “do you promise?” was the best laugh in the show.
Oh, and was anyone else shouting “Fenton” during the grand hunt for the random plot device? Sorry, the mysteriously missing Isis?
Ever since I typed the title of this post I’ve had Petula Clark in my head… it’s only fair to share!