Many of us are suffering from DWS, or Downton Withdrawal Syndrome. PBS’s screening and panel at the Times Center helped ease my withdrawal symptoms.
[From left to right: Executive Producer Gareth Neame, Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Rob-James Collier (Thomas Barrow), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Allen Leech (Branson), Executive Producer Julian Fellowes]
I’m hoping that sharing some of the teasers and insights from the panel will help relieve the suffering of others. The following assumes you have seen all of Season 3, and will not discuss any content that has aired only in the UK.:
The Season Premiere: Before the panel, the audience got to see the first 40 minutes of the 1.5 hour episode was screened. The episode begins 6 months after the Season 3 Christmas special. Fans can expect to see questions of the estate’s financial stability, adapting to a rapidly changing society, and grief and recovery to be the main themes of this episode and most likely the rest of the season.
Season 5!!: Julian Fellowes confirmed that production on Season 5 will start in February. It takes about 6 months to film the season so it is safe to say that it will air in the UK Fall 2014 and in the US January 2015.
Our Dearly Departed: Fans were shocked by Dan Steven’s sudden departure during the last Christmas special. The writers are very sorry for ruining Christmas for UK Downton fans and for the inevitable spoilers that followed for US fans. Sudden death was the only way to have Matthew exit the plot in a way that made sense. This also applies to the departure of Sybil Crawley earlier last season.
Love Below Stairs: Sorry Carson/Hughes shippers, the writers want them to remain friends and close colleagues. Fellowes likes the idea of male-female friendship without romance. Sympathy for Barrow’s plight was was also discussed. Fans want him to have a real relationship but the writers have confirmed that love for him will remain elusive due to the attitudes of the time.
The Airing Gap: Gareth Neame believes that the lag between the UK and US airings hasn’t hurt Downton’s popularity. From his viewpoint, most viewers in the US are not actively participating in social media enough to resent the wait. If Downton aired in the US and the UK in the fall, there would be too much network and cable competition for PBS to overcome. In January, the US competition is on hiatus which means higher ratings for Downton. However the reality of international fan interaction on social media sites and leaks mean that some US viewers will continue to be ahead of the PBS curve.
Edith’s Happiness: An audience member who happened to be dressed as Lady Edith in her wedding dress pleaded with Fellowes to give her a happy ending. Unfortunately for Edith fans, she will have some additional trials in Series 4 as she continues her search for a husband and
I hope this satisfied your craving for Downton news! I’ll be back with Season 4 reviews in January!
This post was widely shared because fans mistakenly thought I would leak UK “Downton Abbey” spoilers. Originally posted Dec. 15, 2013