“Glorious trash” is how my sister describes shows such as Downton Abbey. I have also heard them called “soap operas for the intelligentsia.” However they’re described, I’m hooked.
Why do I, and so many others, love programs like Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey? Is it yearning for a lost world [that never was]? Is it the pleasure of seeing what seems like a static and secure world [- although drama and turmoil are always seething just below the surface?] Is it voyeurism [- the middle classes get to look up into the world of the gentry and down to life of the servant?]
It’s probably all of those things and, if I was made of sterner stuff, I could probably switch it off. But, no, there I sit compulsively consuming every last ounce of bygone elegance.
And I’m the one who thinks our American fascination with the British monarchy is absurd!