Downton Abbey: Leaving the Nest

Blogger’s Note: These recaps are for the hour-long episodes that aired on ITV back in the fall. After the way PBS hacked up series 1, I thought it might be better to recap the unadulterated versions. Episode one from PBS is covered in this and the following recap, and so forth.

We are back, folks! And how lovely was it that the very night Downton series 2 debuted in the UK series 1 cleaned up at the Emmys? The Americans may have fought a war to sever themselves from the crown, but we still love our British prestige pieces, don’t we? And rightly so—Downton was the best thing nominated in its categories, in my opinion. So, how does series 2 stack up to its predecessor? Let’s see.

Continue reading “Downton Abbey: Leaving the Nest”

Armistice Day

First of all: It’s 11/11/11. How cool is that? Second, let’s celebrate the day one of the worst wars in human history finally ended. On November 11, 1918, representatives from Germany and the Allied nations met in a railway carriage in Compiegne Forest to sign the Armistice, formally ending World War I. Germany started calling for an end to the war in early October, when … Continue reading Armistice Day

The Allied Martyr

Since we’re spending so much time in World War I land with Downton Abbey, I thought it might be fitting to mention this: On October 12, 1915 the Allies got themselves a brand new martyr when British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans for treason. Cavell trained as a nurse in London before becoming the matron of a new nursing school in Belgium … Continue reading The Allied Martyr

Home Rule (Almost)

So close, yet so far away. On September 18, 1914, King George approved the Government of Ireland Act1914, also known as the Third Home Rule Bill, which was intended to provide self-government for Ireland. Unfortunately, implementation of the Act was put on hold for the duration of World War I, and the Irish were forced to wait until 1922 to receive the self-government they wanted … Continue reading Home Rule (Almost)

The Perfect Summer

Our lucky British friends get Downton Abbey back this weekend, while those of us on the wrong side of the pond have to wait until 2012 for season 2. Thanks a lot, PBS! If, like me, you’re looking for something to fill the time, or if you’re curious about what life in the Downton Days was like, Juliet Nicholson’s book The Perfect Summer: England in … Continue reading The Perfect Summer

House of Windsor

So long house of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. On July 17, 1917, King George V issued a proclamation that officially changed the royal family’s last name to Windsor. The Saxe-Coburg-Gotha title came courtesy of Prince Albert and was proudly held throughout the Victorian and Edwardian age. But then World War I broke out and Germans (and the names they came with) weren’t terribly popular in Britain. Things got really … Continue reading House of Windsor

Over There

On June 26, 1917, nearly three years after hostilities commenced, U.S. troops joined the British and French soldiers fighting Germany on the Western Front in World War I. After fighting started in 1914, America chose to remain neutral, figuring the fighting was essentially Europe’s problem. The country did attempt to play peacemaker, although that didn’t go so well. After a German U-boat sank the Lusitania in … Continue reading Over There