Romance, murder, scandal, and a peek into the grand home of the Crawley family made for the perfect Sunday night watching Downton Abbey. The show quickly captured the hearts of viewers around the world with its beautiful scenery, fast-paced wit, meaningful characters, and shocking plotlines. The British television program never failed to deliver soap opera level drama, but the writing and the high quality costumes only added to its noble sophistication.
The recent end to the series left us with an entertainment hole in our lives bigger than Mr. Carson’s pride. You too? Well, don’t fret! We’ve rounded up a few of the best television programs and movies to help you ward off those Downton Abbey withdrawals.
Source: Slant Magazine
Straight from Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, Gosford Park is a 2001 British murder mystery film starring none other than Violet Crawley (the amazingly talented Maggie Smith). The film features an all-star cast including Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Emily Watson. Essentially the movie version of Downton Abbey, a group of wealthy Britons and their servants meet for a shooting weekend at an English country house. A murder takes place and an investigation occurs that ultimately reveals what both the guests and servants witnessed that weekend.
Perfect for: Lady Mary, who always had a flair for the dramatic.
Source: Just Watch
Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference between Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey aside from 30 years in production quality. The majorly beloved BBC drama ran for 68 episodes and is set in a large London townhouse during World War I. The show focuses on the lives of the family who lives upstairs and the servants who live downstairs. A major issue of tension in the show is the social and technological changes that occurr between 1903 and 1930. Does any of this sound familiar? It should, as its flair for the dramatic is also mighty similar.
Perfect for: Violet Crawley, who loved to gossip and obsess over the changing times.
Titanic (The Miniseries)
Source: Washington Post
This miniseries about the tragic sinking of the Titanic is another Julian Fellowes drama that splits its focus between the upper and lower class. The four-part television series was written to mark the 100th anniversary of the night the Titanic sank. Downton Abbey super fans may remember the plot of the very first episode of the series: The heir of Downton Abbey died aboard the Titanic.
The miniseries paints a portrait of an entire society and tells the stories of characters from all classes aboard the ship; 89 characters to be exact. Their narratives are interwoven and the final episode draws all of their stories together—revealing the fates of the main characters.
Perfect for: Branson, who would have had very strong feelings about how the class system affected the fate of those on the Titanic.
Call the Midwife
Don’t expect any of the pomp and circumstance of Downton Abbey here. Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama, but instead of starring lords and butlers it’s centered on a group of midwives and nuns working in the East End of London in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The midwives aid low-income families who live far different lives than the Crawley family. And why are we including this series on the list? Because what it lacks in jewels and royalty it equals in heart. There is plenty of drama, but most problems are resolved pleasantly and with a lesson learned.
Perfect for Anna: The sweetest character on Downton Abbey would have a soft spot for these nurses with hearts of gold.
Source: Fan Pop
What we loved and could relate to most about Downton Abbey? Characters striving to create better lives for themselves. And The Paradise delivers just that. It’s set in the first English department store and follows a young shop girl whose marketing prowess catches the eye of the owner. Of course, there are also more than enough romantic entanglements and beautiful costumes to go around.
Perfect for: Gwen, whose hard work and determination helped her leave a career in service for life as a secretary.
The Young Victoria
Source: Fan Pop
Written by, you guessed it, Julian Fellows, The Young Victoria follows Queen Victoria’s ascent to the British throne and the challenges she faces ruling as a woman. Political and romantic drama follow as she navigates the royal court—and her love life. The costumes won an Academy Award, so you are in for a real visual treat.
Perfect for: Sybil, who was a proponent for equal rights for women and supported the women’s suffrage movement.