Scoop: As ‘Downton Abbey’ concludes, a brief recap from the U.K.

“Downton Abbey,” the most popular show on PBS, ever, is ending its run in America on Sunday.

Not in on the mania? Assuming you have no idea who Mrs. Patmore, Bates or Lord Grantham are, BBC Newsbeat reporter Daniel Rosney offers this beginners’ guide to the show, whose finale aired in the U.K. on Christmas.

Downton Abbey is the home of Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) and their family.

They’re waited on by their servants. There are a lot of dinner parties.

A lot of the time it has been to try to find their daughter Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) a husband.

She used to be married to Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) but he died in a car crash (in a Christmas special).

Following that, the ladies retire for a chinwag (that means “chat”).
Watch out for Lady Edith’s (Laura Carmichael) worried face and Lady Mary’s side-eye during these exchanges — the sisters don’t get on.

Time in Downton moves really fast. Series One began in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. World War I happened in Series Two and by Series Three we’re in the 1920s.

Look out for newspapers and the introduction of new technology to work out what era they’re in.
Maggie Smith (aka Professor McGonagall) plays the Dowager Countess. We love her and so will you. She comes up with put-downs only grandmothers can get away with.

The Irish bloke walking around the drawing room is Tom Branson (Allen Leech), the chauffeur-done-good. He married Lord Grantham’s youngest daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) after a cheeky kiss in the garage, but he’s now a member of the clan.

Actors from “Game of Thrones” (Rose Leslie, James Faulkner, Iain Glen) make appearances.

There’ve been weddings both upstairs (the posh bit) and downstairs (the servants bit). Most recently we swooned as the butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) got hitched to the housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan).

Just because weddings are planned, it doesn’t mean they’ll go ahead. And all weddings aren’t lavish affairs, either.

They had a deathbed one, once so footman William (Thomas Howes) could marry kitchen maid Daisy (Sophie McShera).

Also: If anyone refers to Marigold, she’s the illegitimate daughter of Lady Edith — but not everyone in the family knows that yet.

By the way, Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) is the cook, and Bates (Brendan Coyle) is the valet.


A speeder driving a car with Gladys Knight as a passenger got a warning, not a ticket, after the soul great sang “Happy Birthday” to the Utah traffic cop who stopped the vehicle. … An Atlanta judge has granted a media request to unseal Bobbi Kristina Brown’s autopsy report. … Budding singers are invited to try out for Bay Area Cabaret’s “Teen Idol” competition in May. Auditions, with judges Michael Orland (“American Idol” musical director) and Alex Newman (“Glee” casting director) are March 13 at the S.F. Conservatory of Music, and pre-registration by March 9, at, is required.


Golden State Warrior Draymond Green is 26. … Actress Andrea Bowen is 26. … S.F. Giant Sergio Romo is 33. … Actress Actress Stacy Edwards is 51. … Singer Evan Dando (Lemonheads) is 49. … Actress Patricia Heaton is 58. … Actress Catherine O’Hara is 62. … Actress Paula Prentiss is 78.

— Staff, wire reports

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