Over the course of its six season run, Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey proved to be so popular with critics and audiences alike that we now have a movie based on the events at the titular Yorkshire country estate to look forward to.
The big question is, though, do you need to have watched Downton Abbey to watch the film?
Well, of course, it would help. But if you’ve not been able to find the time to watch all 52 episodes of Downton Abbey and don’t want to miss out on the movie, then Focus Features have released a handy 10 minute long video recap to get people up to speed, while we’ve got a handy breakdown of the film’s most important characters, too.
While Downton Abbey the series was set between 1912 and 1926, the movie takes place in 1927, over a year after the events of the last episode, and revolves around King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) visiting the titular country house as part of a royal tour of Great Britain.
With Fellowes returning as its writer and Michael Engler, who oversaw four episodes of the series, directing, too, almost all of its cast have been convinced to come back. The ones that you need to know about to enjoy Downton Abbey are Hugh Bonnevile’s Robert Crawley, the Earl Of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern as his American wife Cora Crawley, the Countess Of Grantham, who run the Downton estate.
Robert owns Downton Abbey alongside his eldest daughter Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery), while Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess, is the matriarch of the family and Mary’s grandmother who has been grooming her to rule the Abbey. There’s also Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), who has always lived in the shadow of her sister Mary.
Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady Grantham, Harry Hadden-Paton as Lord Hexham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Hexham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham and Michael Fox as Andy in Downton Abbey, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk, Focus Features
When it comes to the workers that keep Downton Abbey clean and running, there’s estate manager Tom Branson (Allen Leach), housekeeper Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan), her new husband and the recently retired butler Mr Carson (Jim Carter), and his replacement Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier), a former rebellious footman who has become more and more trustworthy.
There’s also Robert Crawley’s valet John Bates (Brendan Coyle), his wife and the Lady Maid for Downton Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), who is Mary’s best friend, and then cook Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol), who rivals the Dowager as Downton Abbey’s most quotable character.
You can see if Downton Abbey manages to balance all of these characters and their stories in one film rather than a whole season of television when it is released on September 20.