Monday, November 30, 2015

Downton Abbey's Success Model

By Elva Cobb Martin

Who hasn't enjoyed five seasons of Downton and isn't deliciously awaiting Season Six and the series finale? I certainly am. If we had the new streaming type TV (which is on my Santa wish list) I could ALREADY be enjoying the last of this great series. It has already shown in England.

Today I listened to a Downton Special to get America ready for the finale coming in January on PBS. I made some notes from the remarks of the producer, Gareth Neame, and the writer of the series, Julian Fellowes, that I think you are going to LOVE. I believe they shared major SECRETS of the success of this series that can work for our novels, too!

Julian Fellowes: The spice of the series is love. There's not doubt about that.  All the characters are given an opportunity to feel love, to turn love down, to love the wrong person, to make a mess of it, to make a good thing of it. But, I think, on the whole, love is a very key ingredient to all our lies, even if or because we haven't got any.

How's that for a plot outline for your romance characters?
Downton Writer Julian Fellowes and Producer Gareth Neame

Gareth Neame: This show is about a time when relationships are much more straightforward. There's no strange texting going on. I think audiences have loved the simplicity of the relationships. The fact that they are not really about sexual love, but romantic love, and deeply unfashionable for TV producers to be doing--and yet it seems to be a formula that is working around the world.

Don't you love that statement?  Gives new impetus to our writing of inspirational novels versus various shades of gray!

"Lord Grantham" who was the spokesman for the special, had some great stuff to say about love. He said: Love is all around Downton Abbey. Upstairs and downstairs. There's the seasoned love of Robert and Cora.
The scandalous and passionate love of Lady Sybil and Branson.
The long-simmering love of the butler Carson and the housekeeper Mrs. Hughes.
 But perhaps the truest, noblest love at Downton is Anna's for Mr. Bates. But their quest for simple love and happiness is plagued by misfortune.

Julian Fellowes on Anna and Mr. Bates:
By creating a happy, contented couple but where there is always a grenade with its pin half out in the pocket of one of them--you don't ever have to search for the tension you need.

He's got that right!

Producer Gareth Neame on Anna and Mr. Bates:
Unlike the other love relationships which are plagued with difficulties, what Anna and Bates have is this extraordinary relationship of the heart, this incredible bond. They are the couple that all of us know somewhere in our lives, that have this amazing partnership and it's the only way they can deal with all the hurdles that are put in front of them.

Don't you love this guy's thoughts? No wonder he is the producer of an award-winning series like Downton.

I will close with a description of the butler Carson and his pursuit of love from Producer Gareth.  "He (Carson) moves slowly like the speed of a glacier."

Have you watched Downton Abbey?  Please share your thoughts and any gleanings you've found that can help us write winning stories.

Thanks for stopping by.