A Post-'Downton Abbey' Survival Kit

March 9, 2016

downton 4

The final episode of Downton Abbey aired this past Sunday evening, and now that we’ve reached Day 3 in this strange, post-Downton world, it’s likely that even casual fans have started suffering symptoms of withdrawal.  Do not panic, dear Downton lovers.  You see, we’ve assembled a Post-Downton Abbey Survival Kit featuring Downton-related documentaries, BBC shows, books, cast updates, humor, and much more.  It is the next best thing to a seventh season and specially designed to ease you through this difficult time.  So please try to keep calm, friends, and carry on knowing that Off the Shelf is here for you.

Downton-Like DVDs

If you’ve already binged Upstairs Downstairs and worn out your copy of Gosford Park, don’t hesitate to give these series a try:

the pallisersThe Pallisers

Set in the palatial country houses and grand Mayfair salons of mid-Victorian England, this captivating BBC saga of wealth, passion, and power follows an aristocratic family through three generations and begins when Lady Glencora is forced to marry a rising politician named Palliser.  Based the celebrated novels of Anthony Trollope.


paradiseThe Paradise

Instead of an estate, this Victorian romance from the BBC is set in Britain’s first department store.  Telling the rags-to-riches story of shop girl Denise, the series is filled with great characters, intrigue, affairs, and a realistic look at Britain’s class system.



secrets of highclere castleSecrets of Highclere Castle

Famous today as the setting of Downton, England’s 1,300-year-old Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell.  This riveting documentary shows how both the aristocrats and the army of servants lived when the castle was the social epicenter of Edwardian England.  Also see how the current owners – Lord and Lady Carnarvon – live today.


Also try these DVDs…


Mr. Bates-Approved Books

downton a celebrationDownton Abbey: A Celebration by Jessica Fellowes

This “official companion” to all six seasons of Downton features in-depth interviews with the cast, a complete episode guide, and stunning behind-the-scenes photography.  A cornucopia of Downton riches!


lady almina bookLady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon

This rich biography draws on diaries, letters, and photographs to tell the story of Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.  Much like Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Amina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who opened the doors of Highclere Castle to the wounded during WWI.  A revealing picture of the remarkable woman at the center of the “real” Downton Abbey.


servantsServants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the 19th Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

Spanning over 100 years, this fascinating history uses letters, diaries, and interviews to give voice to countless men and women of service.  Introducing us to kitchen maids, valets, and even Winston Churchill’s butler, this book offers a compassionate look at the complex relationship between the server, the served, and the world they lived in.


Also try these books:


Bonus Material

Downton Abbey and History: A Look Book

Thanks to the NY Times for this impressive episode-by-episode look at how Downton seamlessly wove actual history into its plots.  Ex. The sinking of the Titanic in Season 1, Episode 1


Keeping Up with the Cast

What will the Downton actors do now that the series has wrapped?  Find out all their future plans and projects in this great feature from Vulture.


Downton Abbey in America?

Laugh away your sorrow as Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, and Allen Leech read an actual Downton scene with American accents.  Spoiler:  Not the same show…


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