The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1925, portrays the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.
In the first episode the viewer is tossed straight into action. Mr. Crawley(Lord) receives a telegramme where it says that his second cousin, with whom his oldest daughter Lady Mary were to be wed, passed away while travelling on the Titanic.
This is a terrible disaster, which also affects the family and above all Lady Mary.
The tragedy means that Lady Mary won’t have her agreed inheritance or the house, instead she will be wed outside the family and therefore only entitled to her husband’s money and what he owns. It is quite urgent that Lady Mary is wed, since at the age of twentyfive she is regarded rather old according to the typical wedding age at that time.
The series Downton Abbey is very interesting. The setting is different from today, it shows not only what it is like to be an aristocrat but also the servants’ struggles to make their dreams come true.
As it is set in the beginning of the 20th century, the staff only uses the family’s titles, while the Crawleys mix the titles and their first names when addressing each other. The mixture of surnames, first names and titles makes it hard to keep up in the beginning, although it reflects how people communicated at that time.