PBS Rings in 2013 with Downton Abbey, Season 3
By Ellis Nassour
The Great War – WWI, the war to end all wars – is over and Mary and Matthew’s much anticipated and much-long-awaited engagement is announced. Lady Grantham’s mother, Martha Levinson, arrives from New York. Season Three of by Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey, winner of 11 BAFTA Award nominations [with two creative wins], six Emmys, and seven Golden Globe nominations and winner of Best Mini-Series, unreels, on PBS on January 6 at 9 P.M. Howeveer, it appears all is far from tranquil with more social changes at the magnificent country estate. Romantic intrigues, clashing egos, and personal crises will wrenchingly grip fans.
The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville [Lord Grantham; GG-nominated, Best Actor], Laura Carmichael [Lady Edith], Jim Carter [Mr. Carson], Brendan Coyle [Bates], Michelle Dockery [Mary; GG-nominated, Best Actress], Jessica Brown Findlay [Lady Sybil], Siobhan Finneran [O’Brien], Joanne Froggatt [Anna], Phyllis Logan [Mrs. Hughes], Elizabeth McGovern [Lady Grantham; giving her best performance in decades; GG-nominated, Best Actress], Sophia McShera [Daisy], Lesley Nicol [Mrs. Patmore], Dame Maggie Smith [Dowager Countess Violet; giving another memorable portrayal; twice GG-nominated for Supporting Actress], Dan Stevens [Matthew], and, among so many others, Penelope Wilton [Isobel Crawley]. They are joined by Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine, playing Martha Levinson, the very American mother of Lady Grantham. It’s far to say we can expect some locking of horns between Violet and Martha.
Season Two closed with Downton’s reluctant heir, Matthew, recovered from war wounds and after the longest wait in TV history ready to tie the knot with the Mary. As Season Three begins, Lady Grantham’s mother arrives from New York, reminding all it was her daughter who saved Downton by marrying Lord Grantham, who now is struggling to save the Abbey. Leading to more intrigue, Carson breaks in a footman who happens to be the nephew of scheming O’Brien.
Downton Abbey, Season 2, was the most-watched Masterpiece series on record with an estimated 17.1 million tuning the seven episodes. Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton notes, "A younger audience has been seduced by Downton Abbey’s sweeping story, sumptuous settings, plot twists, romances, and the upstairs/downstairs intrigues."
Downton Abbey is a Carnival/Masterpiece co-production in association with NBCUniversal. Season Three’s first two episodes are directed by Brian Percival, who won an Emmy for his helming of Season One. For a video preview of Season Three and much, much more, visit www.PBS.org.
A series companion book, The World of Downton Abbey: Up, Down & On Set, by Jessica Fellowes, is available at the special price of $25 at ShopPBS.com.