It’s hard to imagine period dramas without Downton Abbey now, but the series itself is only just turning ten years old. Its opening episode set in 1912 after the sinking of the Titanic, the show navigates the Earl of Grantham and his household as they navigate the changing world. From the First World War and Roaring Twenties, love and loss, it’s a period drama which captivated audiences right from the first; it’s initial 10 million viewers only grew the show’s reputation into one that has changed pop-culture in its wake.
Everyone has their own favourite character here, whether it’s the ever-iconic Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, Lily James‘ excitable Lady Rose, or footman Thomas played by Robert James-Collier. Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie is part of the cast in Series 1 before her tenure in Westeros and Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson.
In a way, Downton Abbey redefined how period dramas could be created. Gone were the series which were cancelled after a year or two and pushed to a channel nobody really watched. Downton Abbey became the show to watch every week. Multi-award winning and turning period dramas into a serious genre, paving the way for adaptations of novels such as Poldark, Outlander, and more recently Bridgerton.
Though the show finished in a spectacular Christmas finale in 2015, and a film was released in 2019, causing the hype for Downton Abbey resurfaced once again.
Watch the Season One trailer below: