As disheartened Downton Abbey fans in the U.S. continue to send a deluge of e-mails saying the romantic lead Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens, should not die, they should take some solace in the fact the American connection of the award-winning series is growing stronger, according to an Associated Press article in the Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper today.
The hit series which was created by director and writer Julian Fellowes as a British Masterpiece production, has been airing in the U.S. on PBS on Sunday nights. Fans who have become addicted to the well-written historical drama experienced withdrawal symptoms last night as Season Three ended a week ago Sunday. Last night was the first Sunday without Downton in quite awhile.
When Season Four starts up American actress Shirley MacLaine will return as the Crawleys’ own American grandma. She owns homes in New York and Newport. Newport is referred to several times throughout the series through the first three seasons.
Lady Mary Crawley discussed the possibility of fleeing to America to avoid the scandal revolving the embarassing death of a Turkish diplomat in her bed inside Downton Abbey. How inconsiderate of him to die in that location! His body had to be carried to another location to hopefully avoid the scandal which is anathema to the British and American aristocracy.
Lady Mary confided to her maid Anna that “Newport would be dull but not uncomfortable.”
Anna requests and receives permission from Lady Mary to accompany her to Newport to avoid the rumormongers of London society. Her jealous sister threatened to make matters worse by communicating to the Turkish embassy details of the affair.
Lady Mary ended up weathering the storm at Downton Abbey rather than retreat to Newport, the playground of the wealthy in the early 20th Century.
What would Lady Mary and Anna found if they had sought refuge from the scandal in Newport?
The Preservation Society of Newport County has been promoting tours of a mansion in Newport, R.I. which has been compared to Downton Abbey. The Elm is a mansion which has been opened up to tours of Americans and others who want to see what a U.S. version of Downton Abbey looks like.
People who are interested in the tour can find details at the Newport website.
Yet another American connection are the letters found by librarian Melinda Creech from the poet Robert Browning to Lord Carnarvon of Highclere Castle (site of Downton Abbey). Creech, who works at the Baylor University Armstrong-Browning Library, has promised to post or blog any further discoveries she makes connecting the poets Robert and Elizabeth Barret Browning to Downton Abbey. Those letters are part of the largest collection of the Brownings’ works in he world and are located on Speight Street, Waco, Texas on the Baylor campus.
As for the fate of Matthew Crawley, fans who want him to survive the crash should contact director Julian Fellowes via his website in England and let him know of their feelings.
Many fans are so angered at the death of Crawley they have threatened to boycott Season Four. Fan Melanie Cline of Texas said she thought it would be better to have Matthew surive the crash when Season Four begins.
“I know he (actor Dan Stevens) is playing a role in a movie. But it seems they could shoot around that. Those actors fly all over the world now all the time. It would be better if they keep Matthew alive,” said Cline today.
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