The greatly anticipated second series of Downton Abbey picks up two years on from the first series in 1916, in the middle of World War 1. Downton Abbey has been converted into a convalescent home for injured servicemen and the action covers the period from the Battle of the Somme up to the end of the war. As in the first series, topical events of the period, political, economic and military are covered.
The wartime scenario and the convalescent home setting provide an excellent background for some interesting story lines. The combination of excellent plot lines, great acting and the superb setting display all that is best in TV period drama. This time round we have eight more episodes to add to the seven in the first series. As befits wartime, the costumes are not as flamboyant as in the first series but they are thoroughly researched and appropriate to the period.
There continue to be many superb individual performances but mention must be made of Maggie Smith. What a stroke of genius to cast her as Violet. She dominates every scene she appears in and often has some very funny lines.
This DVD includes the Downton Abbey 2 hour Christmas Special which is probably the single best episode of Downton Abbey to date. High drama here with a cliffhanging murder trial as well as the usual romance, drama, betrayal etc one would expect!
The UK has a long tradition of producing fine period dramas and this is the most successful since the early 1980s when NEW Brideshead Revisited - Brideshead Revisited (director (Blu-ray) took the world by storm. Peak viewing figures in the UK are 11m which is an astounding number for that market. It is pleasing to learn that a third series is already planned and we now know that this will cover an 18 month period from 1920 to 1921. This one is likely to run and run and I would not be surprised to see Downton Abbey continuing up to the 1930s eventually.