Downton Abbey is one of the most popular British television series at our library right now. With a long waiting list on the first season and the wait building on the second, I thought I would offer a few alternatives. Here are four titles sure to please, while you are waiting….
Berkeley Square: This series is set in the early 1900’s in Berkeley Square, a wealthy neighborhood in the west end of London. The story focuses on three nannies who meet in the adjacent park and become friends. The nannies come from very different backgrounds and circumstances. Their personal issues begin to encroach on their work lives, putting each woman in compromising situations. While the storylines of this series mostly revolve around the help and their relationships, the following recommendations tend to focus more on the wealthy family members.
The Forsyte Saga (2002): Based on the novel by John Galsworthy, the Forsyte Saga series was originally produced in 1967. This updated adaptation is a much shorter, abridged version of the story. This saga follows several generations of the wealthy Forsyte family through many difficulties: unhappy marriages, infidelity, and disownment. Although the saga is dark at times, eventually, many of the family members find some happiness after years of strife. This series is issued in two parts.
Gosford Park: This feature film is an American production, written by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who later created the series Downton Abbey. It’s a murder mystery is set in the English country manor, Gosford Park. Several family members and friends are invited for a shooting party; each brings their own servants for their stay at the manor. As the story unfolds, we begin to learn the secrets of many of the characters. This sets the stage for multiple suspects, from upstairs and down. The film will keep you guessing right to the end, but eventually, the murderer and motive are revealed for a surprising conclusion.
The Grand: This series begins on New Year’s Eve, 1919. The Grand hotel has recently reopened after expensive renovations, which sets the stage for financial trouble from the outset. This is quickly resolved through a partnership between the Bannerman brothers, who have very different ideas and intentions. While the Bannermans have their own issues to contend with, the guests’ and staff’s lives also bring intrigue and drama to the hotel. This series is issued in two parts.