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Thursday, January 5, 2012

World War I Class And Aristocracy In ‘Downton Abbey’

Spoiler alert! Our radio interview gives away some plot points about season 2.

Rose Leslie, left, and Siobhan Finneran are shown in a scene from "Downton Abbey," a four-part drama about life in an English country estate. (AP/PBS)

“Dear Downton Abbey: may I please have my wife back.”

That’s a Tweet from a man named Rob Hyndman, whose wife apparently spends too much time watching the Emmy-award-winning British television mini-series.  Entertainment Weekly calls “Downton Abbey” addictive– it’s wildly popular in the U.K. and is gaining fans here in the U.S., where it has been airing on PBS.

The mini-series is set in the early 20th century, as tensions between the classes are about to explode along with the bombs signaling the start of World War I.

The drama is played out through the trials and tribulations of Lord Grantham, his wife and three daughters, and of course, their many servants.

Ed Siegel, Here and Now critic-at-large said that Downton Abbey’s themes of honor, betrayal and loyalty resonate with contemporary audiences partly because they are such a contrast.

“We live in an age of hyper-ironic humor, marriages that end at the first sign of trouble, and moral ambiguity. ‘Downton Abbey’ features characters who strive with every bone in their body to do the right thing. And those who don’t are unmistakable villains,” he said.

PBS Masterpiece presents the second season of Downton Abbey starting on Sunday.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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