You are cordially invited to a royal rendezvous well worthy of the big screen. That’s right Downtonians (or do you prefer Abbey Heads?), your favourite buttoned-up British period drama is coming to an ODEON near you on 13 September.
Here’s everything we know about the Downton Abbey movie!
Over the course of its six season, 52-episode run, Downton Abbey won an incredible 57 awards – including three Golden Globes, two BAFTAs and countless Emmys – which should tell you a little something about its calibre. Those nervous that this quality might not translate to the big screen needn’t worry.
Show creator Julian Fellowes has written the script, while Michael Engler (a frequent director of the TV series, including the acclaimed final episode) is behind the camera. “143 unforgettable scenes, 50 wonderful days, 1 glorious movie,” trumpeted the official Downton Abbey Facebook page when the team wrapped filming. Our advice? This is definitely going to be a high-class affair, so get your RSVP in quick!
With each new series of the TV show came a small time hop. Series One of Downton Abbey, for example, covered events from early 1912 to late 1914, before jumping forward to September 1916 in episode one of Series Two.
The Downton Abbey movie is no different, setting its story in 1927, just over a year after we last saw the Crawleys (on New Year’s Eve, 1925, to be exact) in the 2015 Christmas Day finale.
With Fellowes on script duty, the Downton Abbey movie plot is everything you could hope for and more (and certainly well worthy of the extra screen inches). In this funny, heartwarming encounter, the King and Queen of England have invited themselves to tea. Cue an almighty tizzy – upstairs and down – not seen since Turkish diplomat Kemal Pamuk popped his clogs in Lady Mary’s bed.
Anticipation is such, in fact, that Mary (Michelle Dockery) has to persuade butler Carson (Jim Carter) to come out of retirement. There’s also a new romance on the cards for one of our favourites... oooh! “It’s a continuation of their lives but on a much more epic scale,” Allen Leech (who plays widower Tom Branson) told Collider.
In a casting feat that really shouldn’t be underestimated (given the level of fame that many of the show’s stars now enjoy), the Downton Abbey movie features almost all of your old favourites from the TV series including Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Downton, the aforementioned Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates (who now has an adorable 18-month-old son with Mr. Bates) and not forgetting Dame Maggie Smith (84 and going strong) as the irrepressible Dowager Countess.
“The biggest testament to the film is that everyone turned up to play,” Bonneville told Parade magazine. “We had some hurdles getting everyone in the same place at the same time, but there was a will to do it.”
And there are lots of new characters to both cheer and boo-hiss at too. Jim Carter’s real-life wife Imelda Staunton has joined the cast as Lady Maud Bagshaw (we can’t wait to see her sparring with Smith’s Violet), while Simon Jones and Geraldine James play King George V and his wife Queen Mary. Tuppence Middleton, meanwhile, will be setting hearts aflutter (well, one in particular) as Bagshaw’s lady’s maid, Lucy.
If you’ve never seen an episode of Downton Abbey in your life, but really fancy giving this a go, then do. Definitely do. According to Leech: “You can come and join the family at the start of this movie and it wouldn’t make a difference. That’s what Julian’s gift is!”
Be warned, though, booking in advance is advised. First-day sales on the American ticketing site Fandango were bigger than Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and those movies opened in the United States with .9 million and million respectively. Like Lady Mary’s jewellery collection, this one is set to be huge.
With a kingly box office seemingly guaranteed, could a Downton Abbey movie sequel be on the cards? Julian Fellowes isn’t ruling it out.
“I haven’t killed off half the cast in a Coronation Street-style crash, so a follow-up is a definite possibility,” the writer told The Sun. We’ve already got our fingers crossed!