Downton Abbey: A New Era
Following the success of the Downton Abbey series and the first full-length feature film in 2019, Downton Abbey: A New Era is the cinematic sequel of this highly acclaimed historical drama, created by award-winning writer Julian Fellowes and directed this time by the Emmy-nominated Simon Curtis, Fans can expect more of what they love, with the addition of an array of unexpected twists as the franchise moves along.
The new storyline follows the aristocratic Crawleys and their steadfast staff as they prepare to offer Downton as a backdrop for a Hollywood film in return for financial gain. The arrival of acclaimed movie director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy), petulant starlet Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Craddock) and suave actor Guy Dexter (Dominic West) on Downton soil brings a combination of excitement, distaste and much-needed funds to repair the leaking roof.
Alongside this amusing clash of cultures, viewers see Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) brought to the forefront of the story. She gathers her family members around her to tell them about her unexpected inheritance of a luxury villa in the south of France. This revelation brings up questions surrounding her romantic past and fuels speculation for her son, Robert (Huge Bonneville), as he doubts his own paternal roots. Her beloved quick-witted quips are once again scattered through the script, the dowager at one point declaring emphatically to her confused family members: “Do I look like I’d turn down a villa in the south of France?” before most of them take off across Europe to seek out the coveted treasure.
There are a huge number of subplots to these two main narratives, which could make it less accessiible for series newcomers. There’s Thomas Barrow’s (Robert James-Colliers) potential queer romance with the Hollywood actor Dexter, whispers of Cora Crawley’s (Elizabeth McGovern) sudden frailty and, whilst there seems to be trouble in paradise for Lady Mary’s marriage, there’s also a day of happiness between Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and his new bride, Lucy Smith (Tuppance Middleton) as they celebrate their nuptials.
With costumes overseen by Anna Robbins, the finery on display feels authentic and classically quintessential. The storyline also does its best to reflect this, coming across as relatively old-fashioned and rather wholesome in comparison to other period dramas currently taking centre-stage. Even if the uninitiated aren’t convinced, Fellowes needn’t care – there are loyal legions of longterm fans who will enjoy Downton Abbey: A New Era and cross their fingers that there’s a threequel in the making.
Downton Abbey: A New Era is released nationwide on 29th April 2022.
Watch the trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era here: