Victoria Summerley: Downton Abbey offers simplicity in a complicated world

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

My 16-year-old daughter and I high-fived when Matthew Crawley, the reluctant heir to Downton Abbey, proposed to Lady Mary, the spoilt eldest daughter of the Earl.

We groaned over the obstacles that lay in the path of lame valet Mr Bates and Anna the head housemaid. We growled at the treachery of embittered ladies' maid O'Brien and dastardly footman Thomas.

There's something pantomimic about DA. The goodies are always goodies (hurray!), the baddies are always baddies (boo hiss!). The relationship between the older characters - Mrs Crawley (Penelope Wilton) and the Dowager Countess, played with Lady Bracknell-esque relish by Maggie Smith – is reminiscent of slapstick dames.

So what is it about the simplistic story line that has me and my daughter so addicted? I think it is just that: the simplicity. In a complicated world, one longs for happy endings and just deserts and Downton Abbey supplies all these most satisfactorily.