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  #1  
Old 11-08-2010, 04:35 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Downton Abbey (open spoilers)

I must say, I'm a sucker for English period dramas, but this one is one of the best I've seen. Anyone else watching it?

One question I would like to put to British dopers is whether the servants' accents can be identified. It seems like each one has a different accent, and I think I hear Scottish and Irish ones too. Would it be realistic for a Yorkshire manor of that period to have servants from all over the British Isles?

Another thing that got me wondering. When the gay duke came to visit (Episode 2 maybe?), Lady Crawley addressed him just as "Duke." For some reason, that sounded odd to me. Everyone else addressed him as "Your Grace," which sounded right. But would a countess-by-marriage address a duke with a bare "Duke"? If they are considered more-or-less of even status, I would still expect to hear "Duke William" (or whatever his given name is). I know she's American in origin, but I'd expect her to have learned the proper forms.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2010, 05:00 PM
alexandra alexandra is offline
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Bates is Irish. Evil Lady's Maid and Evil Footman are from Manchester/surrounding part of Lancs. Mrs Hughes is Scottish. William, Mrs Padmore...Yorkshire, I guess? Carson doesn't sound terribly anything, as would be proper for a butler, but is probably from somewhere in the region.

So most of the accents are from somewhere that could be close by (either Lancs or Yorks) - doesn't seem that unrealistic to me.

Last edited by alexandra; 11-08-2010 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:06 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Bates's mother was definitely Irish, but I wasn't sure about him.

What about Anna, the head house maid? Her accent stands out as distinctive amongst the cast.

Daisy, the scullery maid?

Gwen, the second house maid?

Molesley, the butler/valet for Matthew?

Am I right on these?
- Branson the driver -- Irish
- The doctor -- Clarkson? -- Scottish
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:18 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Elizabeth McGovern's accent sounds very weird to me. Like someone trying hard to fail at sounding English. Is it her natural accent?

I quite enjoy the Mary-Edith rivalry. Nothing like a passive-aggressive catfight.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:17 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I assume that the countess's accent is just Upper Crust American c. 1888 seasoned by 24 years of living in the UK.

I really enjoyed the first episode, which just aired tonight here. My gaydar pinged on the Evil Footman and the Conniving Duke almost as soon as I saw them in the bedroom together.

Why wouldn't Bates immediately tell His Lordship, even if in private, that the Evil Lady's Maid had kicked his leg out from underneath him just as the duke was entering the house? He's ex-Army; he shouldn't take her shit.

If I understand the entail correctly, even if one of the daughters married and had a son before the death of the Earl, the house and fortune would still pass to the gauche young solicitor, right?

As to the Earl's title: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Grantham
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:25 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Alas, I see the show has been cut by a fourth for the American audience: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8...audiences.html

Incidentally, why would the house be called an "abbey"? Would it have been a church property taken over by Henry VIII back in the day?
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:42 PM
Mehitabel Mehitabel is offline
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Actually, it wasn't cut all that much. The original ran eight hours in the UK but was stuffed with so many commercials when it was shown that there was quite a ruckus about it.

I like this baroque unwieldy Chesterfield green velvet sofa of a show, esp. Bates and the Lord and the young maid-of-all-work. Love the Maggie S. and Mrs. Heir's-Mom. But I don't know, it's sort of lacking something--maybe it's because they started it so late that WWI is, as the Master says, "shuddering on the horizon" and I'm sorta dreading seeing all the younger guys marching off in uniforms and the girls in nurse garb, and the solemn declarations on How Things Will Never Be the Same.

Oh well, it's January and the Amazing Race isn't on. Keep the TV antennas and the storm windows and the cellphone towers out of shot, watch it with the contemporary language, MARY, and I'll sit back and enjoy.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:51 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Alas, I see the show has been cut by a fourth for the American audience: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8...audiences.html
Not according to this article. The first season isn't being shown exactly as it was in the UK, but that's because PBS doesn't have commercials. The UK series had to allow time for ads. Instead of a one-hour episode (45 minutes + commercials), we're getting 90-minute episodes -- episodes are being combined. Or something like that.

I really liked it too, but I think I'm gonna get the DVD.

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Why wouldn't Bates immediately tell His Lordship, even if in private, that the Evil Lady's Maid had kicked his leg out from underneath him just as the duke was entering the house? He's ex-Army; he shouldn't take her shit.
I suspect he wants to handle it on his own. I was shocked that she did it -- not just because it was so evil but because it reflects poorly on the family, and if the family looks bad, the servants look bad. Isn't that how things worked? Pride and all that?
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:55 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Incidentally, why would the house be called an "abbey"? Would it have been a church property taken over by Henry VIII back in the day?
That's the usual reason, yes. Confiscated by Henry VIII at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and handed on to favoured cronies.
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2011, 11:55 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...I suspect he wants to handle it on his own....
Yeah, I suppose... but then they should SHOW us him handling it on his own. A polite but angrily through-clenched-teeth conversation with her behind closed doors, letting her know that he could just easily strive to see her get fired, and denied a reference as well. He's got the Earl's ear, after all. But months have now passed [on the show], and there they are, still working in the same house as it all's well.

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 01-09-2011 at 11:56 PM..
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:59 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Not according to this article. The first season isn't being shown exactly as it was in the UK, but that's because PBS doesn't have commercials....
Ah, good to know. Thanks!
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2011, 12:41 AM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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...If I understand the entail correctly, even if one of the daughters married and had a son before the death of the Earl, the house and fortune would still pass to the gauche young solicitor, right?...
Correct; the vast majority of British peerage titles cannot pass to a female or through the female line (the exceptions being Scottish titles, very old baronies, & a handful of recent titles). That's why Lady Mary was arranged to marry Cousin Patrick.
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2011, 08:16 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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For the "handful of recent titles," is that because British law has changed since 1912-13, or the creation of those titles was with the Crown's explicit proviso that the title could pass through the women of the family?
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:23 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Bates's mother was definitely Irish, but I wasn't sure about him.
Yes, Bates is Irish. Quite common in those days for Irishmen to join the British army, and end up in England on leaving the forces. There was also a sizeable trickle of Irish economic migrants, so it's quite normal to find an irishman in Yorkshire at this time.

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What about Anna, the head house maid? Her accent stands out as distinctive amongst the cast.
Her accent sounds like it's from Lancashire to me, which is the bordering county to Yorkshire so would fit quite comfortably.

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Originally Posted by acsenray View Post
Daisy, the scullery maid?

Gwen, the second house maid?

Molesley, the butler/valet for Matthew?
I think these are all Yorkshire?

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Am I right on these?
- Branson the driver -- Irish
- The doctor -- Clarkson? -- Scottish
Yes, quite correct.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:28 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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Yeah, I suppose... but then they should SHOW us him handling it on his own. A polite but angrily through-clenched-teeth conversation with her behind closed doors, letting her know that he could just easily strive to see her get fired, and denied a reference as well. He's got the Earl's ear, after all. But months have now passed [on the show], and there they are, still working in the same house as it all's well.
I think it's quite apparent from the start that he thinks his position is unstable partly because of his disability (no employment laws on such things in those days!) and partly because of what is revealed about his background further into the series. So he doesn't want to get into a stink with the other servants and wants to maintain a low profile, particularly as the new boy he hasn't got his feet wholly under the table yet.
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Old 01-10-2011, 04:46 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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For the "handful of recent titles," is that because British law has changed since 1912-13, or the creation of those titles was with the Crown's explicit proviso that the title could pass through the women of the family?
The latter. For example when Prince Phillip's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was created Earl Mountbatten of Burma there was a special remainder in the letters patent allowing his daughters to inherit since he didn't have any sons. His elder daughter is currently the 2nd Countess Mountbatten.

Back to the show; Thomas is O'Brien's bastard son, right?

Last edited by alphaboi867; 01-10-2011 at 04:47 PM.. Reason: O'BriEn
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2011, 07:18 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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Ack! I hope that was a guess and not a spoiler!

I'm enjoying the series and ordered it via Amazon ($17.99 with free shipping). I hope it has extras, such as where it was filmed, etc. I'm a sucker for extras.

I also read that it was the most expensive Brit TV program ever produced, but that it was very well received in the UK.

I'm enjoying it so far.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:11 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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It's already been approved for a second season, Wiki says. Wouldn't surprise me if the show someday reaches WWI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downton_Abbey

I see also that Elizabeth McGovern married a Brit in 1992 and presumably has lived in the UK since then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_McGovern

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 01-12-2011 at 12:13 PM..
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2011, 12:28 PM
yojimbo yojimbo is offline
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I see also that Elizabeth McGovern married a Brit in 1992 and presumably has lived in the UK since then: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_McGovern
If she doesn't live there she spends a lot of time there as I saw her recently on a Britsh chat show and she was quite comfortable talking about British celebs/TV shows etc .
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:31 PM
kath94 kath94 is online now
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Okay, I just got around to watching the 1st episode (US) last night. I'm intrigued! Even got the (Brit) hubby interested. I'd never heard of a newspaper being ironed before, but my husband knew what "the board" was before immediately.

I have a question. In the scene where the lord is nearly poisoned, what was the substance that was almost sprinkled on his chicken instead of chopped egg? I thought the cook said "salt of sorrow" but I can't find any reference to it anywhere. (other than a metal band!)
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:33 PM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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I have a question. In the scene where the lord is nearly poisoned, what was the substance that was almost sprinkled on his chicken instead of chopped egg? I thought the cook said "salt of sorrow" but I can't find any reference to it anywhere. (other than a metal band!)
If you've saved it, put on the closed captioning before running that scene. I had to do this for awhile when I watched the UK's "The Office" because they're accents were so strong.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:15 PM
kath94 kath94 is online now
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Deleted, unfortunately.

But I still haven't figured out how to caption recordings on our DVR/PVR.
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  #23  
Old 01-12-2011, 06:08 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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I thought the cook said "salt of sorrow" but I can't find any reference to it anywhere.
Salt of sorrel (Old Chem.), acid potassium oxalate, or potassium quadroxalate, used as a solvent for ink stains; -- so called because found in the sorrel, or Oxalis.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:20 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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I missed parts of this wonderful show, I just love this stuff. I'm wondering , when Bates was going away in the car and then was called back - I assume he was fired for something?
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:56 PM
kath94 kath94 is online now
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Salt of sorrel (Old Chem.), acid potassium oxalate, or potassium quadroxalate, used as a solvent for ink stains; -- so called because found in the sorrel, or Oxalis.
Thanks, GuanoLad!
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:22 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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I missed parts of this wonderful show, I just love this stuff. I'm wondering , when Bates was going away in the car and then was called back - I assume he was fired for something?
Partially disabled by a schrapnel injury he suffered in the war when he fought under Lord Crawley, O'Brien's camp has been on a campaign to sabotage him since Day 1. O'brien tripped him in front of the Duke, as one example, and they've systematically dripped complaints about him to the Lady or Lord.

After Carson approached him to complain that he'd have to pay for a third footmen to compensate for Bates' shortcomings, Lord Crawley finally capitulated and canned Bates. However, due to what looks like real affection and respect for Bates, Lord Crawley changed his mind at the last minute and re-hired him. This was a particular blow to the chief of staff (don't know his real title), Carson, who is meticulous and extremely proud.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:28 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...This was a particular blow to the chief of staff (don't know his real title),* Carson, who is meticulous and extremely proud.
* Butler.
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  #28  
Old 01-13-2011, 10:06 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Well, I was certainly relieved Lord Crawley reconsidered. I saw that tripping up of Bates in front of the Duke and just cringed.

What a strange, artificial situation that way of life appears to me. To be the rich upper crust living in that big house, and also living below stairs all those servants, keeping out of sight until needed, like household appliances.
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  #29  
Old 01-13-2011, 12:29 PM
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We really loved this show -- we kept comparing it to the old Masterpiece Theater series Upstairs Downstairs. Can't wait for Sunday again!
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:11 PM
kath94 kath94 is online now
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We really loved this show -- we kept comparing it to the old Masterpiece Theater series Upstairs Downstairs. Can't wait for Sunday again!
I read somewhere that it was being called "this generation's 'Upstairs Downstairs.'"
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:14 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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I read somewhere that it was being called "this generation's 'Upstairs Downstairs.'"
The BBC has actually made a Chrismas special/series of Upstairs, Downstairs. It's pretty good (sorry, I couldn't wait for PBS to show it ). Six years after the ITV series left off a new family buys 165 Eaton Place and recruits Rose Buck to staff it. Hopefully the BBC will commision a proper series.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:21 PM
lisacurl lisacurl is offline
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The series was written by Julian Fellowes, who was the screenwriter of Gosford Park.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:31 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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One of the things that both this series and Gosford Park have in common is a detailed look at the life of the servant class. (I assume that Upstairs, Downstairs does as well, but I've never seen it.) I particularly liked the whole thing in Gosford Park where the hierarchy for seating the servants for their dinner was based on the standing of the person for whom they worked, so that the very young lady's maid had the place of honor at the table because the woman she served was the highest ranked noble.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:42 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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I read there are plans to bring back a continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs, as alphaboi867 mentioned above, and Jean Marsh is NOT pleased about Downton Abbey.

Speaking of which, I thought when the blond guy (sorry, don't know his name), the one who's a lawyer - when he went out to apologize to the gal in the old fashioned riding habit (Mary? out riding sidesaddle! mind the horseless carriages!) - now there was a picture worth a thousand words. Blunt crass modern man confronts genteel uptight aristocratic woman. Symbolic culture clash.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:50 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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One of the things that both this series and Gosford Park have in common is a detailed look at the life of the servant class. (I assume that Upstairs, Downstairs does as well, but I've never seen it.) I particularly liked the whole thing in Gosford Park where the hierarchy for seating the servants for their dinner was based on the standing of the person for whom they worked, so that the very young lady's maid had the place of honor at the table because the woman she served was the highest ranked noble.
Oh, yes, Upstairs, Downstairs gave a VERY detailed look at the life of the servants. When some of the family went to stay at another big country house (fox-hunting?), the same thing you mention was shown. All of the servants who came along with their families, at the downstairs mealtimes, were seated according to the ranks of their 'betters'... I always liked the downstairs segments more than the doings of the Bellamys who lolled around all dressed up, doing society things, ringing for tea to be served.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:48 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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What I liked in Downton Abbey was that the servants were like friends and confidantes to the families, but still had that proprietary separation the class system had embedded in it. And they all think it's the most natural and acceptable thing in the world. Even those unhappy about it and want change, respect it and obey its rules.

It shows clearly to me why the UK has such a bee in its bonnet over the class system; because it pervaded their entire culture, deeply, for centuries.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:49 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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I'd never heard of a newspaper being ironed before
Yes, that was standard practice I believe. As was the servants collecting all of the spare change from the pockets of the gentlemen's suits, cleaning and polishing it overnight, and returning it to them the next morning all bright and shiny.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:58 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
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Could someone answer the question about Elizabeth McGovern addressing the Duke as "Duke" instead of Your Grace. She did it twice- when she met him and at dinner. It sounded odd. (Elizabeth got OLD!)

Did anyone else think that Daisy the scullery maid was the soulmate of Daisy on "Bones"? I had to look and make sure it wasn't the same actress.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:14 PM
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Could someone answer the question about Elizabeth McGovern addressing the Duke as "Duke" instead of Your Grace. She did it twice- when she met him and at dinner. It sounded odd. (Elizabeth got OLD!)
According to this (which I have seen in other sources, such as "Debrett's Correct Form") she was not incorrect. It's at the top of the "peers and peeresses" list. Either "Duke" or "Your Grace"would be correct.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_o...United_Kingdom

It would appear the Dukes are the only peers addressed by title- the lower titles would be "my Lord".
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:08 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
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Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:45 AM
LVBoPeep LVBoPeep is offline
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I'm excited for Sunday as well - it's always a long wait for me while Masterpiece Theater shows mysteries all summer and fall. I hope Bates gets to stay permanently, or at least long enough to stick it to the maid that tripped him. And I liked the scene where the Duke and Mary raided the servants quarters - I thought the actress did a good job of showing her discomfort and knowledge that they were in the wrong by doing it. And Bates, "Would you like to inspect my quarters" or something like that, made me laugh.

and....Maggie Smith!
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:09 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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According to this (which I have seen in other sources, such as "Debrett's Correct Form") she was not incorrect. It's at the top of the "peers and peeresses" list. Either "Duke" or "Your Grace"would be correct.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forms_o...United_Kingdom

It would appear the Dukes are the only peers addressed by title- the lower titles would be "my Lord".
It's a social situation and they're more or less social equals. Either Duke, Crowborough, or even his Christian name would be acceptable depending on his preference. Only the servants would be expected to keep addressing him as "Your Grace" or "Sir", not his fellow guests.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:24 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Originally Posted by PunditLisa
...However, due to what looks like real affection and respect for Bates, Lord Crawley changed his mind at the last minute and re-hired him. This was a particular blow to the chief of staff (don't know his real title), Carson, who is meticulous and extremely proud...
Nitpick, it's Lord Grantham, not Lord Crawley. Crawley is the family name, but not the title. Lord Grantham might also be Viscount/Baron Crawley, but only his eldest son & heir would get to use that title. Since Matthew Crawley is only his heir, not his son, he's just "Mr Crawley".

Carson is the butler, he's in charge of all male servants. The housekeeper, Mrs Hughes, is in charge of all the female ones except for O'Brien (who answers directly to Lady Grantham) and Mrs Patmore, the cook (who also answers directly to Her Ladyship).
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:28 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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I'd never heard of a newspaper being ironed before, but my husband knew what "the board" was before immediately.
The butler also irons the newspaper in Remains Of The Day.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:37 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
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The paper was often ironed several times a day.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:23 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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According to this (which I have seen in other sources, such as "Debrett's Correct Form") she was not incorrect.... It would appear the Dukes are the only peers addressed by title- the lower titles would be "my Lord".
Legend has it that, when awarding Jim Thorpe an Olympic prize in 1912, King Gustav V of Sweden gushed, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world," to which Thorpe replied simply, "Thanks, King."
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:31 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Shah of Iran: "You dance beautifully, Miss Bacall".

Lauren Bacall: "You bet your ass, Shah."
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:11 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
The paper was often ironed several times a day.
Presumably because there were several editions published throughout the day?
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:16 AM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is online now
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No, I mean the same paper was ironed over again. If someone left it crumpled in the morning, it would be ironed and tidied for rereading later or by other family members.

"Thanks, King" makes me think of the line from the song in My Fair Lady sung by Eliza, "'Thanks a lot, King,' says I, in a manner well bred, 'but all I want is 'enry 'iggins' 'ead!'"

Last edited by ThelmaLou; 01-16-2011 at 06:18 AM..
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:50 AM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
No, I mean the same paper was ironed over again. If someone left it crumpled in the morning, it would be ironed and tidied for rereading later or by other family members.
I'd not heard of repeated ironing - my understanding was that the object of ironing the paper was to stop ink coming off on the master's hands, not to get rid of creases.
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