Downton Abbey
Series 2
Region 1 USA DVD cover
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes8 + 1 Christmas special
Release
Original networkITV
Original release18 September (2011-09-18) –
6 November 2011 (2011-11-06)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 1
Next →
Series 3
List of episodes

The second series of the British historical drama television series Downton Abbey broadcast from 18 September 2011 to 6 November 2011, comprising a total of eight episodes and one Christmas Special episode broadcast on 25 December 2011. The series was broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom and on PBS in the United States, which supported the production as part of its Masterpiece Classic anthology. Series two explores the lives of the Crawley family and servants during and after the First World War.

Series two received widespread acclaim, with critics praising its cast, historical depictions, and story's arc. The viewing figures significantly increased compared with series one, with an average of 11 million viewers per episode. The series was nominated for several industry awards, and won the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials. Maggie Smith received critical praise for her performance as Lady Violet Crawley, which earned her the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Series overview

The second series covers the last two years of the war and the first year of peace. Events mentioned or directly affecting the Crawley household include the Battle of the Somme, the Easter Rising, the Battle of Arras, the Russian Revolution, the Battle of Passchendaele, the Battle of Amiens, the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, the Armistice, and the Spanish flu epidemic.

On the domestic front there is a serious shortage of able-bodied men for home front jobs. Matthew Crawley and William Mason go off to fight, while Thomas Barrow joins the Medical Corps. Tom Branson, as an Irishman, won't fight for Britain. Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) returns to uniform, but is refused active service due to his age. Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay) defies her aristocratic position and joins the Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse.

In the biggest development, Downton Abbey becomes a convalescent home for wounded officers.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring and guest cast

Episodes

A 46-minute documentary compiled in anticipation of the Christmas 2011 two-hour special broadcast, Behind the Drama features behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the series and short interviews with Julian Fellowes, the writer, actors (Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown Findlay, Laura Carmichael, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Thomas Howes, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Allen Leech), and other members of the team that produces Downton Abbey. It was shown in the United Kingdom at 7:30 pm on Wednesday 21 December 2011 and narrated by Hugh Bonneville. 4.5 million people watched the show.[1]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [2]
81"Episode One"Ashley PearceJulian Fellowes18 September 2011 (2011-09-18)11.41
September 1916. Matthew, on military leave, returns to Downton. He announces that he is engaged to Lavinia Swire. Mary has invited Sir Richard Carlisle, a ruthless, wealthy newspaper mogul, to visit Downton. The servants prepare for a concert to help fund the local hospital. Bates tells Anna that he is finally able to get a divorce and proposes. Bates' estranged wife Vera arrives at Downton and demands that Bates quit and return to her, or she will expose Mary's indiscretion with Pamuk, having heard the rumour. Bates gives his notice without explanation. Sybil enrolls in nurses' training, and Branson confesses his love for her before she leaves. Matthew meets Thomas in the trenches, where they share a cup of tea. Later, Thomas deliberately gets shot in one of his hands so that he can be sent back to England.
92"Episode Two"Ashley PearceJulian Fellowes25 September 2011 (2011-09-25)11.77[nb 1]
April 1917. Robert informs Mrs Patmore that her nephew was executed for cowardice. Thomas goes to work under Dr Clarkson at the village hospital along with Lady Sybil. Downton becomes a war-time convalescent home. Matthew is unhappy about returning to England for a recruitment drive. Lavinia is confronted by Richard, an old and unwelcome acquaintance. Edith volunteers to drive a tractor to help farmers during the war. She helps out Mr and Mrs Drake, two Downton tenant farmers. She and Mr Drake become attracted to each other, and are seen kissing by Mrs Drake, who quietly puts an end to Edith's job.
103"Episode Three"Andy GoddardJulian Fellowes2 October 2011 (2011-10-02)11.33[nb 2]
July 1917. Violet objects to Downton becoming a convalescent home, while Isobel takes charge. Cora gets Thomas, now an Acting Sergeant, assigned to oversee Downton's military convalescents. Violet believes that Mary and Matthew are still in love. She and Rosamund scheme to end Matthew's engagement to Lavinia. Violet believes there is something more to Lavinia's relationship with Richard. William proposes to Daisy before going to war. Mrs Patmore pressures Daisy to accept William solely to give him hope, even though Daisy does not love him.
114"Episode Four"Brian KellyJulian Fellowes9 October 2011 (2011-10-09)11.30[nb 3]
March 1918. The new housemaid, Ethel, continually flirts with Major Bryant. Mrs Hughes discovers them in bed together and dismisses Ethel. A few months later, Ethel returns, announcing that she is pregnant with Bryant's child. Preparations are under way for a concert at Downton. Tensions flare between Isobel and Cora, while Edith hears that Matthew and William have gone missing. Branson asks Sybil to run away with him, but she is ambivalent. Robert visits Bates at a nearby pub where he is working. Matthew and William turn up alive, but are forced to return to the trenches.
125"Episode Five"Brian KellyJulian Fellowes16 October 2011 (2011-10-16)11.59[nb 4]
August 1918. Matthew has suffered a serious spinal injury and is paralysed from the waist down, leaving him apparently unable to walk or father children. He wants Lavinia to forget him and sends her away, while Mary attempts to nurse him back to health. Mrs Hughes secretly helps Ethel and her baby since Bryant has ignored her. Having shielded Matthew from an explosion, William returns to Downton with terminal injuries. He wants Daisy to marry him before he dies. Mrs Patmore persuades a reluctant Daisy to go through with it; William dies a few hours later. Bates, who paid off Vera to divorce him, is taken aback when Vera vows to expose the truth about Mary and Pamuk as payback. Mary confesses her involvement with Pamuk to Richard and asks him to help. He pays Vera to sign a confidentiality contract, then buries the story. Unknown to Mary, Richard announces his engagement to her in his paper. On finding out she was tricked into silence, Vera warns Bates that she will still ruin him.
136"Episode Six"Andy GoddardJulian Fellowes23 October 2011 (2011-10-23)11.33[nb 5]
November 1918. A severely burnt and disfigured Canadian officer arrives at Downton and declares that he is the assumed dead heir, Patrick Crawley. Mary rejects the claim, but Edith is persuaded as he recounts details of old times at Downton. Robert commissions his solicitor, Murray, to investigate; Murray learns that one of Patrick Crawley's close friends had emigrated to Canada, and Violet presumes he impersonated Patrick to claim the family fortune. "Patrick" abruptly departs, proving Violet right. Matthew is adapting to his condition and Mary's care for him. Isobel is full of social improvement schemes using Downton Abbey. Ethel hears of Bryant's death. Branson gives Sybil an ultimatum regarding his marriage proposal to her. Bates learns that the legality of his divorce is threatened, as Vera has revealed that he paid her to leave him; Bates goes to London to try and settle their affairs. When he returns, he learns that Vera is dead. Soon after, the Armistice concludes the war.
147"Episode Seven"James StrongJulian Fellowes30 October 2011 (2011-10-30)12.26[nb 6]
Early February 1919. Matthew begins feeling sensation in his legs. He announces that he and Lavinia will marry soon. Violet tells him that Mary still loves him, but Matthew feels obliged to marry Lavinia. Richard distresses Anna by asking her to spy on Mary; his behaviour leads Carson to reject his offer of employment. Bates realises that Vera committed suicide to frame him for murder. Mrs Hughes contrives a meeting between Major Bryant's parents and Ethel and her baby. However, Mr Bryant does not believe that Ethel's child is his grandson. Thomas embarks on a new money-making scheme in the post-war black market. Robert is attracted to Jane, a new maid. Realizing her love for Branson and her desire for a new life, Sybil agrees to elope with him. However, Mary discovers her plan; she, Edith, and Anna, catch up with them en route to Scotland and persuade Sybil to return and plead her cause openly to their parents.
158"Episode Eight"James StrongJulian Fellowes6 November 2011 (2011-11-06)12.45[nb 7]
April 1919. The family are appalled that Sybil wants to marry a chauffeur. Preparations are under way for Matthew and Lavinia's wedding. Cora, Carson, and Lavinia are taken ill with Spanish flu. Matthew and Mary acknowledge that they cannot marry as it would be cruel to Lavinia, despite their feelings for one another. Lavinia overhears them, and later tells Matthew that she does not want to prevent his happiness. Ethel is surprised when Mr and Mrs Bryant want to see her but is horrified when she learns that Mr Bryant wants to take custody of the baby. She refuses and forbids them from seeing the baby. Jane decides to leave Downton before she and Robert can become more involved. Anna and Bates marry in secret, and Mary lends them her private bedroom for the night. Cora and Carson recover, but Lavinia succumbs to the flu and dies. Guilt-ridden, Matthew tells Mary that any relationship between them is now impossible. Robert reluctantly gives his blessing for Sybil and Branson to marry. Bates is arrested for Vera's murder.
Special
16"Christmas at Downton Abbey"Brian PercivalJulian Fellowes25 December 2011 (2011-12-25)12.11[nb 8]
December 1919 and January 1920. The household is bustling with Christmas preparations. The staff entertain themselves with a ouija board. Bates is convicted of Vera's murder, but his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment after Murray's appeal. Bates encourages Anna to stay at Downton and to live a full life. Daisy meets with William's father, Mr Mason, who assures her that she is a good person and asks her to become his surrogate daughter. Rosamund contemplates marriage, but her suitor is exposed as a fortune hunter. Sybil, now married to Branson and living in Ireland, writes to Cora that she is pregnant. Cora insists on them returning to Downton. Cora finally tells Robert about Mary and Pamuk. Although Mary is only staying with Richard to keep the story undercover, on Robert's encouragement, she accepts the risk and breaks up with Richard anyway because she does not love him. Though afraid that he will see her as "soiled", Mary tells Matthew about Pamuk, then plans to leave for America. Although surprised, Matthew decides to put everything behind them and proposes; Mary happily accepts.

Production

Filming began in March 2011. The scripts were written by series creator Julian Fellowes. Episodes were directed by Ashley Pearce, Andy Goddard, Brian Kelly and James Strong. Cal Macaninch, Iain Glen, Amy Nuttall, Zoe Boyle and Maria Doyle Kennedy joined the cast respectively as the new valet Lang, Sir Richard Carlisle, the new housemaid Ethel, Lavinia Swire and John Bates' wife Vera. Nigel Havers and Sharon Small appeared in the Christmas Special as Lord Hepworth and Marigold Shore, Rosamund Painswick's maid, respectively.

Reception

Series two was highly acclaimed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has fresh rating of 100% based on 24 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With its excellent cast and resplendent period trappings, Downton Abbey continues to weave a bewitching, ingratiating spell."[27] On Metacritic, the series 2 has a normalized score of 85 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "Universal Acclaim".[28]

The series generally received overwhelming reviews from critics. Linda Stasi of the New York Post wrote the second series "seamlessly moves between the horrors of war and the gentility of life in the show's titular 100-room manor."[29] Writing for TV Guide Magazine, Matt Roush said, "For those of us who hungered for a year to witness these new chapters, the appetite is insatiable."[30] The Wall Street Journal's television critic Dorothy Rabinowitz said, "The vibrant brew of upstairs-downstairs relationships is more savory now, the characters more complicated."[31] Robert Bianco of USA Today also lauded the series saying, "There's nothing in Downton you won't recognize, and almost nothing you won't enjoy."[32] Variety's chief television critic Brian Lowry praised the series cast and said the creator had "created such a vivid group of characters and assembled such an impeccable cast--effortlessly oscillating from comedy to drama--that the hours fly by, addictively pulling viewers from one into the next."[33] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter said, "The characters are so beautifully and thoroughly rendered that we, as viewers, are caught up in their lives."[34] Robert Lioyd of the Los Angeles Times said, "It is big, beautiful, beautifully acted and romantic, its passions expressed with that particular British reserve that serves only to make them burn brighter."[35]

Some media outlets and critics were more critical towards the show. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV critic Rob Owen wrote, "Writer/series creator Julian Fellowes weaves together an engrossing tapestry of stories, although some of them stretch credulity or peter out."[36] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times also gave the series moderate reviews by comparison to the first series and said, "Season 2 is in many ways as captivating and addictive as the first, but this time around, the series comes off as a shameless throwback to itself."[37] In a moderate review, Maureen Ryan of The Huffington Post said, "Your investment in the many stories spun out by creator Julian Fellowes may take longer to develop this year, because the costume drama's pace is off in the early going and it's far more contrived and inconsistent than it was in its first season."[38] In a less enthusiastic review for The Washington Post, Hank Stuever quipped that the series, "lacks surprise and is stretched precariously thin, a house full of fascinating people with not nearly enough to do, all caught in a loop of weak storylines that circle round but never fully propel."[39]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee Result
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Hugh Bonneville Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Michelle Dockery Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Jim Carter Nominated
Brendan Coyle Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Joanne Froggatt Nominated
Maggie Smith Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Julian Fellowes for
Episode Seven
Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Brian Percival for
Episode Seven
Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for Single Camera Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Hairstyling for Single Camera Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Casting for Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for Comedy or Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
BAFTA Awards 2011 Best Supporting Actress Maggie Smith Nominated
YouTube Audience Award Downton Abbey Nominated
BAFTA Craft 2011 Production Design Donal Woods & Judy Farr Nominated
Original Music John Lunn Nominated
Costume Design Susannah Buxton Nominated
TCA Awards Programme of the Year Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Downton Abbey Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Best Drama Actress Michelle Dockery Nominated
Monte-Carlo Television Festival Best Drama TV Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Outstanding Actor Dan Stevens Nominated
Brendan Coyle Nominated
Outstanding Actress Michelle Dockery Nominated
Joanne Froggatt Nominated
Outstanding International Producer Gareth Neame Nominated
Outstanding European Producer Gareth Neame Nominated
National Television Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Televisual Bulldog Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Virgin Media TV Awards Best Drama Downton Abbey Won
Basauri Award Basauri Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts Brendan Coyle Won
Elle Style Awards Best TV Show Downton Abbey Won
TRIC Awards Drama Programme of the Year Downton Abbey Won
Irish Film and Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in TV Drama Brendan Coyle Nominated
Hollywood Post Alliance Awards Outstanding Editing - Television John Wilson Won
Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama Michelle Dockery Nominated
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maggie Smith Won
Producers Guild of America Awards Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Drama Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Maggie Smith Nominated
Michelle Dockery Nominated
Art Directors Guild Awards One-Hour Single Camera Television Series Donal Woods Nominated

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 10.245 million on ITV1,[3] 919,000 on ITV1 HD,[4] and 601,000 on ITV1+1.[5]
  2. ^ 9.824 million on ITV1,[6] 978,000 on ITV1 HD,[7] and 531,000 on ITV1+1.[8]
  3. ^ 9.880 million on ITV1,[9] 814,000 on ITV1 HD,[10] and 606,000 on ITV1+1.[11]
  4. ^ 10.155 million on ITV1,[12] 945,000 on ITV1 HD,[13] and 486,000 on ITV1+1.[14]
  5. ^ 9.867 million on ITV1,[15] 955,000 on ITV1 HD,[16] and 504,000 on ITV1+1.[17]
  6. ^ 10.811 million on ITV1,[18] 1.086 million on ITV1 HD,[19] and 383,000 on ITV1+1.[20]
  7. ^ 11.180 million on ITV1,[21] 968,000 on ITV1 HD,[22] and 297,000 on ITV1+1.[23]
  8. ^ 10.672 million on ITV1,[24] 922,000 on ITV1 HD,[25] and 513,000 on ITV1+1.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "David Bowie 'TOTP' footage boosts BBC Two – TV News". Digital Spy. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  2. ^ Weekly Top 10 Programmes Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
  3. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 25 September 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 2 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 9 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 16 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 23 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 30 October 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  22. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 06 November 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  24. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes: ITV1 w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  25. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  26. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 25 December 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  27. ^ "DOWNTON ABBEY: SEASON 2 (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Downton Abbey : Season 2". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  29. ^ Stasi, Lind (7 January 2012). "Class action". New York Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  30. ^ Roush, Matt (6 January 2012). "Weekend Reviews: Downton Abbey, House of Lies, AbFab and More!". TV Guide Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  31. ^ Rabinowitz, Dorothy (6 January 2012). "The Great War Comes Home". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  32. ^ Bianco, Robert (5 January 2012). "In face of war, 'Downton Abbey' stays strong". USA Today. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  33. ^ Lowry, Brian (5 January 2012). "Review: 'Downton Abbey'". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  34. ^ Lowry, Brian (8 January 2012). "Review: 'Downton Abbey' Returns as Great as Ever". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  35. ^ Liyod, Robert (6 January 2012). "'Downton Abbey's' intrigue continues". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  36. ^ Owen, Rob (8 January 2012). "House of Lies built by slime". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  37. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (8 January 2012). "Forget War; Romance Is in the Air". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  38. ^ Ryan, Maureen (6 March 2012). "'Downton Abbey' Review: Second Season Stumbles". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  39. ^ Stuever, Hank (6 March 2012). "Stiff upper lips for "Downton Abbey's" disappointing return". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.

External links[edit]