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Downton Abbey: Season 6
Learn more A chronicle of the lives of the Crawley family and their servants, beginning in the years leading up to World War I. Season 6 of the award winning series releaes January 26th, 2016.
The off-screen antics of a TV soap star
On-screen, she’s Dr. Willoughby, a compassionate surgeon who saves lives with skill and a scalpel. Offscreen, she’s Donna Sinclair, a ruthless actress fighting to control her fading career and the sleazy daytime hospital soap in which she stars.
Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) is deliciously bitchy as the aging, vain Sinclair in this hilarious send-up of British television. She’ll stop at nothing to keep her place in the spotlight, from betraying her fellow actors to terrorizing her producer, pilfering toilet paper from the supplies closet, and lying her way out of a charity gig. As the conniving, vindictive, and utterly insincere Sinclair, Lumley steals every scene.
This sharply written British comedy also stars Brian Protheroe (Holby City, North & South), Isobel Middleton (Cracker), and Paula Bacon (Bad Girls).
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To play an actress playing a surgeon, Joanna Lumley apparently had to study making funny faces. Fortunately, she did her job well and you might even laugh as soon as you see her previously cold visage start to twist. "Scandal" makes her gradually shabbier appearance as she becomes more haggard the main gag, and perhaps the series' funniest.
The secondary plots are usually left to Brian Protheroe as Ralph, a neurotic actor who tends to blow up a lot; he's usually dreaming of filling a gap left by a departing Donna, at least when he's not fearing his own abrupt departure. The strongest supporting character is Emma, a producer who begs to get out of her contract--and away from the difficult cast.
Dr. Willoughby generally has a realistic look to it; it appears to be filmed on an actual soundstage and backlot. The backdrop actually makes the silly, (hopefully) exaggerated gags on the show seem a tad more realistic, which adds to the humor. It's interesting to note that several of the actors, including Lumley (a veteran of General Hospital and Coronation Street), have experience with TV suds.
-Full review at dvdverdict.com
Other Brit stars are Brian Protheroe playing Ralph, the soap #2 star, wanting to be #1. Sexy Paula Bacon plays Crystal who is the soap's Sister Nurse Virginia who actually adds some sanity to the series. Emma (Isabelle Middleton) is the prod/dir of the soap from the sewer who'd rather have an operation by the soap cast without anesthetic than continue to be in charge of trying to make the show worthwhile. It is somewhat on the comedy plane as Jeeves & Wooster. "Can they really be that dumb? Apparently so!
1 Fan Mail--Ralph & Crystal gets abundant mail & attractions. Donna's jealously tries to sabotage her cast colleagues.
2 Young Pretender--Ralph's convinced he's being replaced as Donna wants new YOUNG MALE blood in the show.
3 Family Wedding--Everyone on the show, cast/crew, decides the heavy drama soap needs comedy to lighten the plots.
4 Speculation--Donna's away to a clinic and the reason becomes the gossip question. Guesses range from alcohol, to pregnancy, to sex change...
5 Scandal--Headlines suggests Donna's brother is living in squalor. Cast/crew thinks Donna's out & Ralph's the new star. Soap opera P.O. meltdown.
6 Awards--`Best Daytime Program' nomination causes a flurry of excitement-except for Donna who fakes disinterest.
DVD box announces SDH SUBTITLES. TRUE.
The box cautions course language. QUITE!