There is a mystique about putting together a Broadway show. It all seems so easy. But in reality, it takes time and a lot of work, both on and off stage.
The 2012 television series, Smash took this concept and put in front of the television viewing audience.
The book writer and lyricist, Julia Houston and Tom Levitt (Debra Messing and Christian Borle) are writing a musical based on the life of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe. Directing is smarmy British director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). Behind the scenes producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is doing all she can to bring the show to Broadway. Competing for the lead role is fresh from the farm ingenue Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) and pulling herself up by her bootstraps chorus girl Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty).
Was the drama a little hyped up? I’m sure it was. Was the writing, especially in season 2 after taking on a new show runner a little questionable? Yes.
But sometimes, we need this kind of television, even if the critics hate it.
I am Downton Abbey Addict. There, I said it. My addiction has started to move beyond the television series to the real and fascinating history behind the television series.
Highclere Castle’s current mistress, Fiona, Countess of Carnavon, has written two books on the history of her home and her husband’s family. The first novel, published in 2011, Lady Almina And the Real Downton Abbey, The Lost Legacy Of Highclere Castle, focused on her husband’s paternal great grandmother. Her 2013 novel, Lady Catherine, The Earl And Real Downton Abbey focuses on her husband’s paternal grandmother, Catherine, Countess of Carnarvan.
Like her fictional counterpart, Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), Catherine is an American heiress who marries Lord Porchester, son and heir to George, 5th Earl Of Carnavan. Lord Carnavan was part of the expedition that initially discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen. Her life is fascinating. She was born in 1900 and died in 1978. She lived through two world wars, became a member of the British aristocracy through her marriage and watched the world change around her.
I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because I enjoyed reading about the real history and the real people that are part of the history of Highclere castle. Reading the book bring a real, historical perspective to fictional Downton Abbey and the characters that inhabit that world.
I recommend this book.
Dear Julian Fellows
I am aware, like many within the Downton Abbey Fandom, that filming of series 5 has already commenced.
No one is perfect and no writer is perfect. Every television series has at least one episode or plot line where the viewer is questioning the judgement of the writer or writers.
From one writer to another, I would like to make a few suggestions for the fifth series.
- Baby Bates. Between John in prison in the third series and Anna’s rape in the fourth series, they deserve a little happiness.
- Fire Thomas. Yes, we all know that he took a beating for Jimmy and was nearly fired without a recommendation at the end of the third series for kissing Jimmy, but he has apparently forgotten those who showed him kindness at his hour of need.
- Tell us what secret Baxter has that Thomas is alluding to. And let her hook up with Molesley.
- Allow Edith to win at something. Career, romantic relationship, something. We all know that the scrapes in life make us stronger, but she deserves to win for once.
- Give Daisy a boyfriend. After Thomas, William and Alfred, she deserves a little love in her life.
- Show us the Crawley grandchildren. Granted, the UK may have similar laws that the US has in regards to child actors, but it would be nice to see Sybbie, George and Edith’s unnamed daughter.
- Let Mary be single for a while. It’s not like she needs a man to provide for her or give her a home. She has a home and an income. She also has a son to raise and an estate to run. It’s not like she is sleeping until noon and eating bon bons all day.
- Answer the will they or won’t they between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes. I’m not a Charles Carson and Elsie Hughes shipper, but I’m sure the final moments of the 4th series gave those who are a little hope.
A Downton Abbey Fan