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Downton Abbey (series 2)

Downton Abbey (series 2)
Downton Abbey Series 2.jpg
Region 1 USA DVD cover
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes8 + Christmas special
Release
Original networkITV
Original release18 September (2011-09-18) –
6 November 2011 (2011-11-06)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 1
Next →
Series 3
List of Downton Abbey episodes

The second series of the British historical period drama television series Downton Abbey aired from 18 September 2011 to 6 November 2011, comprising a total of 8 episodes and one Christmas Special episode aired on 25 December 2011. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV, and in the United States on PBS, starting on 8 January 2012. Series 2 explored the lives of the Crawley family and servants during and after the First World War.

Series 2 received widespread acclaim, with critics praising its cast, historical depictions, and story's arc. The viewing figures significantly increased compared with series 1, with an average of 11 million viewers per episode. The series was nominated for several industry awards, and won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. Maggie Smith received critical praise for her performance as Violet Crawley, which earned her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Series overview

The second series covers the last two years of the war and the first year of peace. Events mentioned or directly affecting the Crawley household include the Battle of the Somme, the Easter Rising, the Russian Revolution, the Battle of Amiens, the Armistice, and the Spanish flu epidemic.

On the domestic front there is a serious shortage of able-bodied men for home front jobs. Matthew Crawley and William Mason go off to fight, while Thomas Barrow joins the Medical Corps. Tom Branson, as an Irishman, won't fight for Britain. Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) returns to uniform, but is refused active service due to his age. Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay) defies her aristocratic position and joins the Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse.

In the biggest development, Downton Abbey becomes a convalescent home for wounded officers.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring and guest cast

Episodes

A 46-minute documentary compiled in anticipation of the Christmas 2011 two-hour special broadcast, Behind the Drama features behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the series and short interviews with Julian Fellowes, the writer, actors (Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown Findlay, Laura Carmichael, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Thomas Howes, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Allen Leech), and other members of the team that produces Downton Abbey. It was shown in the United Kingdom at 7:30 pm on Wednesday 21 December 2011 and narrated by Hugh Bonneville. 4.5 million people watched the show.[1]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [2]
81"Episode One"Ashley PearceJulian Fellowes18 September 2011 (2011-09-18)11.41
September 1916. Matthew is returning to Downton during his upcoming leave and informs the family he is engaged to Miss Lavinia Swire. Lady Mary announces that she has invited Sir Richard Carlisle, a ruthless, wealthy newspaper mogul to Downton. The servants prepare for a concert to help fund the local hospital. Bates tells Anna that he may finally be able to get a divorce and proposes. Vera Bates, Bates' estranged wife, arrives at Downton and demands that Bates return to her or she will expose Lady Mary's indiscretion with Pamuk. Bates gives his notice without explanation. Mrs Hughes tells the story to Mr. Carson, and he informs Lord Grantham. Sybil enrolls in nursing training. Branson reveals his feelings before Sybil leaves. Matthew arrives with Lavinia. He and Mary reconcile. Matthew meets Thomas in the trenches. Thomas intentionally gets wounded to be sent back to England.
92"Episode Two"Ashley PearceJulian Fellowes25 September 2011 (2011-09-25)11.77[nb 1]
April 1917. Lord Grantham informs Mrs Patmore that her nephew was shot for cowardice. Thomas goes to work under Dr Clarkson at the village hospital along with Lady Sybil. Downton becomes a convalescent home. Matthew is unhappy about returning to England for a recruitment drive. Lavinia is confronted by Sir Richard Carlisle, an old and unwelcome acquaintance. Lady Edith volunteers to drive a tractor and help with the work as her bit to help in the war effort. She does this for Mr Drake, a Downton tenant farmer. She and Mr Drake kiss, and are seen by Mrs Drake, who quietly puts an end to Edith's job.
103"Episode Three"Andy GoddardJulian Fellowes2 October 2011 (2011-10-02)11.33[nb 2]
July 1917. Downton becomes a convalescent home for wounded officers, over Violet's outspoken objection, with Isobel taking charge. Cora gets Acting Sergeant Thomas Barrow assigned to run the military side of Downton. Violet believes that Mary and Matthew are still in love. She and Rosamund try to end Matthew's engagement to Lavinia. Violet believes there is something more to Lavinia's relationship with Sir Richard. William proposes to Daisy before going to war.
114"Episode Four"Brian KellyJulian Fellowes9 October 2011 (2011-10-09)11.30[nb 3]
March 1918. Ethel continues flirting with Major Bryant; when Mrs Hughes finds them in bed together, she dismisses Ethel. Later, she returns, announcing she is pregnant with Bryant's child. Preparations are under way for a concert at Downton. Tensions flare between Isobel and Cora, while Edith receives worrying news about Matthew and William. Branson declares his feelings for Sybil again. Lord Grantham visits Bates at a nearby pub where he is working. Lord Grantham receives a letter from Carlisle, which causes him concern and forces an uncomfortable conversation with Mary.
125"Episode Five"Brian KellyJulian Fellowes16 October 2011 (2011-10-16)11.59[nb 4]
August 1918. Matthew has suffered a serious spinal injury and is paralysed from the waist down. He is told that he will never walk again or father children. He wants Lavinia to forget him and sends her away, while Mary attempts to nurse him back to health. Mrs Hughes secretly helps Ethel and her baby since Ethel's lover, Major Bryant, has ignored her. William's injuries are fatal, prompting him to ask Daisy to marry him before he dies. Mrs Patmore persuades Daisy to go through with it; William dies a few hours later. Bates is taken aback when Vera promises to expose old secrets about Lady Mary and Pamuk's death, as he paid her to divorce him. When Mary discovers this, she confesses everything to Sir Richard Carlisle and asks him to help. He pays Vera to sign a contract with confidentiality obligations. Unknown to Mary, Sir Richard announces his engagement to her in his paper. On finding out she was tricked into silence, Vera warns Bates she will still ruin him.
136"Episode Six"Andy GoddardJulian Fellowes23 October 2011 (2011-10-23)11.33[nb 5]
November 1918. A Canadian officer, badly disfigured by burns, arrives at Downton and declares that he is Patrick Crawley, the supposedly deceased heir. Mary rejects the claim, but Edith is persuaded as he recounts details of old times at Downton. Robert has his solicitor Murray investigate; Murray learns that Patrick Crawley had a close friend who emigrated to Canada. "Patrick" abruptly departs. Matthew is adapting to his condition and Mary's caring for him. Isobel is full of social-improvement schemes using Downton Abbey. Ethel hears the news that Major Bryant has been killed. Lady Sybil receives an ultimatum from Branson regarding his marriage proposal to her. Bates is shocked to find the legality of his divorce threatened, as Vera reveals that he paid her to leave him, and he goes to London to attempt to settle matters with her again. Upon his return, he receives the news that she is dead. Soon afterwards, the war ends with the Armistice.
147"Episode Seven"James StrongJulian Fellowes30 October 2011 (2011-10-30)12.26[nb 6]
Early February 1919. Matthew begins to feel his legs. Matthew announces that he and Lavinia intend to marry soon. Violet tells him that Mary is still in love with him, but Matthew feels obliged to marry Lavinia. Sir Richard Carlisle distresses Anna by asking her to spy on Mary; his behaviour leads Carson to reject his offer of employment. Bates realises that Vera committed suicide in order to frame him. When Major Bryant's parents visit Downton to see where their son convalesced, Mrs Hughes contrives a meeting between them and Ethel and her baby. However, Mr Bryant angrily refuses to believe her claim. Thomas embarks on a new money-making scheme in the post-war black market. Lord Grantham is attracted to the new maid, Jane, and kisses her. Lady Sybil makes the drastic decision to elope with Branson. However, Mary discovers her plan and, along with Edith and Anna, seeks them out and persuades Sybil to return and plead her cause openly to their parents.
158"Episode Eight"James StrongJulian Fellowes6 November 2011 (2011-11-06)12.45[nb 7]
April 1919. Preparations are under way for Matthew and Lavinia's wedding. Lady Grantham, Carson, and Lavinia are taken ill by the Spanish flu. Matthew and Mary acknowledge that they cannot marry as it would be cruel to Lavinia. Lavinia overhears them and sees them kiss. Ethel is surprised when Major Bryant's parents want to see her but is horrified when she learns that Mr Bryant offers to take custody of the baby and tells her that she will not be allowed to see him. Lord Grantham and Jane have an encounter but are interrupted and Jane decides to leave. Anna and Bates marry in secret. Cora becomes seriously ill. Lavinia succumbs to the flu and dies. Matthew tells Mary that any relationship between them is now impossible. Lord Grantham reluctantly gives his blessing for Lady Sybil and Thomas Branson to marry. Bates is arrested for the murder of his late wife.
Special
16"Christmas at Downton Abbey"Brian PercivalJulian Fellowes25 December 2011 (2011-12-25)12.11[nb 8]
December 1919 and January 1920. The household is bustling with Christmas preparations. The staff entertain themselves with a Ouija board, trying to contact the spirits. Bates is convicted of Vera's murder, but his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. Bates encourages Anna to stay at Downton but live a full life. Daisy meets with William's father, Mr Mason, who assures her that she is a good person, and asks her to become his surrogate daughter. Rosamund contemplates marriage, but her suitor is exposed as a "fortune hunter". Sybil, now married to Tom Branson and living in Ireland, writes to Cora that she is pregnant. Cora insists on them returning to Downton. Mary jilts her fiancé, Sir Richard Carlisle, despite his threat to publish her dark secret regarding the late Kemal Pamuk. Though afraid that he will see her as "soiled", Lady Mary tells Matthew about Pamuk. Though surprised, he soon decides that what's past is past, and proposes to her; she happily accepts.

Production

Filming began in March 2011. The scripts were written by series creator Julian Fellowes. Episodes were directed by Ashley Pearce, Andy Goddard, Brian Kelly, and James Strong. Cal Macaninch, Iain Glen, Amy Nuttall, Zoe Boyle, and Maria Doyle Kennedy joined the cast as the new valet Lang, Sir Richard Carlisle, the new housemaid Ethel, Lavinia Swire, and John Bates' wife Vera, respectively. Nigel Havers and Sharon Small appeared in the Christmas Special as Lord Hepworth and Marigold Shore, Rosamund Painswick's maid, respectively.

Reception

Series two was highly acclaimed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has fresh rating of 100% based on 24 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With its excellent cast and resplendent period trappings, Downton Abbey continues to weave a bewitching, ingratiating spell."[27] On Metacritic, the series 2 has a normalized score of 85 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "Universal Acclaim".[28]

The series generally received overwhelming reviews from critics. Linda Stasi of the New York Post wrote "The series seamlessly moves between the horrors of war and the gentility of life in the show's titular 100-room manor."[29] Writing for TV Guide Magazine, Matt Roush said, "For those of us who hungered for a year to witness these new chapters, the appetite is insatiable."[30] Wall Street Journal's television critic Dorothy Rabinowitz said, "The vibrant brew of upstairs-downstairs relationships is more savory now, the characters more complicated."[31] Robert Bianco of USA Today also lauded the series saying, "There's nothing in Downton you won't recognize, and almost nothing you won't enjoy."[32] Variety's chief television critic Brian Lowry praised the series cast and said "Julian Fellowes has created such a vivid group of characters and assembled such an impeccable cast--effortlessly oscillating from comedy to drama--that the hours fly by, addictively pulling viewers from one into the next."[33] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter said, "The characters are so beautifully and thoroughly rendered that we, as viewers, are caught up in their lives."[34] Robert Lioyd of the Los Angeles Times said, "It is big, beautiful, beautifully acted and romantic, its passions expressed with that particular British reserve that serves only to make them burn brighter."[35]

Some media outlets and critics were more critical towards the show. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV critic Rob Owen wrote, "Writer/series creator Julian Fellowes weaves together an engrossing tapestry of stories, although some of them stretch credulity or peter out."[36] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times also gave the series moderate reviews by comparison to first series and said, "Season 2 is in many ways as captivating and addictive as the first, but this time around, the series comes off as a shameless throwback to itself."[37] In a moderate review, Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post said, "Your investment in the many stories spun out by creator Julian Fellowes may take longer to develop this year, because the costume drama's pace is off in the early going and it's far more contrived and inconsistent than it was in its first season."[38] In a less enthusiastic review for the Washington Post, Hank Stuever quipped, "Downton Abbey lacks surprise and is stretched precariously thin, a house full of fascinating people with not nearly enough to do, all caught in a loop of weak storylines that circle round but never fully propel."[39]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee Result
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Hugh Bonneville Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Michelle Dockery Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jim Carter Nominated
Brendan Coyle Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Joanne Froggatt Nominated
Maggie Smith Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Julian Fellowes for
Episode Seven
Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Brian Percival for
Episode Seven
Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for Single Camera Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Hairstyling for Single Camera Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Casting for Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Comedy or Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
BAFTA Awards 2011 Best Supporting Actress Maggie Smith Nominated
YouTube Audience Award Downton Abbey Nominated
BAFTA Craft 2011 Production Design Donal Woods & Judy Farr Nominated
Original Music John Lunn Nominated
Costume Design Susannah Buxton Nominated
TCA Awards Programme of the Year Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Downton Abbey Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Best Drama Actress Michelle Dockery Nominated
Monte-Carlo Television Festival Best Drama TV Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Actor Dan Stevens Nominated
Brendan Coyle Nominated
Outstanding Actress Michelle Dockery Nominated
Joanne Froggatt Nominated
Outstanding International Producer Gareth Neame Nominated
Outstanding European Producer Gareth Neame Nominated
National Television Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Televisual Bulldog Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Virgin Media TV Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Basauri Award Basauri Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts Brendan Coyle Won
Elle Style Awards Best TV Show Downton Abbey Won
TRIC Awards Drama Programme of the Year Downton Abbey Won
Irish Film and Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in TV Drama Brendan Coyle Nominated
Hollywood Post Alliance Awards Outstanding Editing - Television John Wilson Won
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama Michelle Dockery Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maggie Smith Won
Producers Guild of America Awards Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Drama Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Maggie Smith Nominated
Michelle Dockery Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards One-Hour Single Camera Television Series Donal Woods Nominated

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ 10.245 million on ITV1,[3] 919,000 on ITV1 HD,[4] and 601,000 on ITV1+1.[5]
  2. ^ 9.824 million on ITV1,[6] 978,000 on ITV1 HD,[7] and 531,000 on ITV1+1.[8]
  3. ^ 9.880 million on ITV1,[9] 814,000 on ITV1 HD,[10] and 606,000 on ITV1+1.[11]
  4. ^ 10.155 million on ITV1,[12] 945,000 on ITV1 HD,[13] and 486,000 on ITV1+1.[14]
  5. ^ 9.867 million on ITV1,[15] 955,000 on ITV1 HD,[16] and 504,000 on ITV1+1.[17]
  6. ^ 10.811 million on ITV1,[18] 1.086 million on ITV1 HD,[19] and 383,000 on ITV1+1.[20]
  7. ^ 11.180 million on ITV1,[21] 968,000 on ITV1 HD,[22] and 297,000 on ITV1+1.[23]
  8. ^ 10.672 million on ITV1,[24] 922,000 on ITV1 HD,[25] and 513,000 on ITV1+1.[26]

References

  1. ^ "David Bowie 'TOTP' footage boosts BBC Two – TV News". Digital Spy. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  2. ^ Weekly Top 10 Programmes Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
  3. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  22. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  24. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  25. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  26. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  27. ^ "DOWNTON ABBEY: SEASON 2 (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Downton Abbey : Season 2". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  29. ^ Stasi, Lind (7 January 2012). "Class action". New York Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  30. ^ Roush, Matt (6 January 2012). "Weekend Reviews: Downton Abbey, House of Lies, AbFab and More!". TV Guide Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  31. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (6 January 2012). "The Great War Comes Home". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  32. ^ Bianco, Robert (5 January 2012). "In face of war, 'Downton Abbey' stays strong". USA Today. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  33. ^ Lowry, Brian (5 January 2012). "Review: 'Downton Abbey'". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  34. ^ Lowry, Brian (8 January 2012). "Review: 'Downton Abbey' Returns as Great as Ever". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  35. ^ Liyod, Robert (6 January 2012). "'Downton Abbey's' intrigue continues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  36. ^ Owen, Rob (8 January 2012). "House of Lies built by slime". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  37. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (8 January 2012). "Forget War; Romance Is in the Air". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  38. ^ Ryan, Maureen (6 March 2012). "'Downton Abbey' Review: Second Season Stumbles". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  39. ^ Stuever, Hank (6 March 2012). "Stiff upper lips for "Downton Abbey's" disappointing return". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.

External links