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Downton Abbey: Discussion Thread


Sylph

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I've seen him in a handful of plays in London, playing totally dissimilar characters in each one. He certainly enjoys expanding his range; he is a very good actor and is only going to get better and better as he ages. I loved him as Dennis Watts, so it is a credit to him that I rarely think of that character when he is playing someone else. Downton was a shock, though.

Here, some fans feel very betrayed by what has happened to Anna. They feel this maybe the sloppery slope for Downton towards sensationalism and even ruin! Maybe I have been inured by years of US Daytime, but I could only admire the actress's very relatable and visceral acting, and the bewildered reaction of lovely Bates (who loves her so tenderly!) and helplessness of Mrs. Hughes.

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People, it's Dennis RICKMAN, not Watts.

You may go back to your regularly scheduled programming now. :-)

Thank you! This is why I was so confused because of course I know Dirty Den... :P The actor was very good in Guys and Dolls.

Cat--I read some of the reaction (although it looks like the BBC is somewhat blowing it all up--maybe out of jealousy--as apparently they only got a few dozen complaints, not a huge amount really.) I can see why some may call it sensationalistic, but really, as Fellowes said, they didn't show the actual attack and as far as rape on tv (the UK or N America) goes it was remarkably restrained. Frankly, while a part of me is not so keen on the story if only because I feel like it will be more about poor Mr Bates' reaction, Downton this season did need *some* drama and something intense--the first two episodes were so, well, happy--yes even with all the gloomy Matthew mourning. :P

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Thank you! This is why I was so confused because of course I know Dirty Den... tongue.png The actor was very good in Guys and Dolls.

Cat--I read some of the reaction (although it looks like the BBC is somewhat blowing it all up--maybe out of jealousy--as apparently they only got a few dozen complaints, not a huge amount really.) I can see why some may call it sensationalistic, but really, as Fellowes said, they didn't show the actual attack and as far as rape on tv (the UK or N America) goes it was remarkably restrained. Frankly, while a part of me is not so keen on the story if only because I feel like it will be more about poor Mr Bates' reaction, Downton this season did need *some* drama and something intense--the first two episodes were so, well, happy--yes even with all the gloomy Matthew mourning. tongue.png

It's not technically a BBC show -- it is on ITV. But yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if this was some free advertising for the network which, Downton apart, is suffering in the ratings. However, I have read in the Radio Times (i.e.: voice of TV-watching Middle England) that DA is akin to a pair of comfortable slippers and a warm mug of cocoa on a Sunday night (when it is screened) and this is an aberration to what DA represents. People were just not expecting it. Some had tuned in, as opera fans, to see Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who was billed as the episode's special guest star.

The Great British Public are having a hard time reconciling this show as a soap (which it is, pretty much). With shows like Coronation Street, EE going to the rape well every now and then, viewers see this as a Corrie-style plot point by DA. And it besmirches DA for them because soaps are getting an increasingly bad press here for 'plumbing new depths in sensationalism' (I am paraphrasing, of course).

I think the brouhaha raises a wider question about how desensitized we are now to seeing rape on TV, to the point where people now believe it should be banished to soaps and the odd police procedural without thinking too much of it. sad.png Maybe it is a class thing, too. Most of the UK soaps are more working-class based/targeted. DA is firmly middle-class in terms of its target audience. Maybe there is a feeling that rape has been confined to the "underclasses"? You may think I am exaggerating but sometimes here, these unquestioned class attitudes linger and even thrive.

Personally, I thought the acting was excellent, and the initial reactions right after the rape judged very well (no talk about getting the police involved -- that's how rape was viewed, especially regarding the downstairs servants. Not so long before that, it was the Master's perogative to deflower a female servant the night before her wedding day!).

I do think the reaction is more heightened than when Matthew Crawley was killed off. I think everybody recognizes what a coup that has been for the character of Lady Mary.

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Oh you mis-read me (or more to the point, I wasn't clear.) I'm well aware it's on ITV, and it does seem--especially after Upstairs/Downstairs flopped, BBC is jealous they don't have the show. So many people (and I'm not sure I agree) feel that BBC is reporting so heavily on the "controversy" and blowing it out of proportion to make it look worse than it is.

I agree with everything else you say so well. I dunno though--I think early on Downton was known for having *some* shocks--and I actually felt the first two episodes were TOO much like "wearing a warm pair of slippers." It was becoming fairly samey/mindless. And yeah--this was the show that "ruined Christmas" last year, so I still find the reaction odd.

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