This article discusses Downton Abbey, the most popular series in the history of British television. The series is a means of bringing history to the many and thus an important feature of collective cultural memory. Based on the premise that television series such as Downton Abbey are the primary means by which people learn about history today and that they play a major part in determining how the heritage and identity of England and Englishness have been understood, this article discusses why Downton Abbey is so popular, identifying seven primary reasons: the coherence of the historical setting and the characters; the current interest in country estates; the accessibility of the series to all generations; the modern tempo; the equal focus on the aristocratic members of the Crawley family and their servants; the attention to historical detail; and the prominence given to World War One as a catalyst for social and intellectual change. Special focus is placed on the historical context and the impact of World War One, as these are the most important and tangible reasons for the enormous popularity and success of Downton Abbey both on television and in literature.
- Litteraturvetenskap (60203)