Arts and Entertainment Downton Abbey may be on our screens until 2020

The show's producer has said there are 'no plans' to end the period drama

The Weekend's TV: Downton Abbey, Sun, ITV1<br/>The First World War from Above, Sun, BBC1

The Downton decree: do mention the war

Leading article: Withdrawal symptoms

There's nothing Downton Abbey proved all over again, like a period drama to keep British audiences curled up and cosy in front of their televisions of a weekend night, especially if it is a saga shot through with class. At heart, we are still gluttons for daily life misremembered above and below stairs. By the final episode, last night, 11 million people were in thrall to the doings of Lord Grantham and the rest, making it the most-watched television costume saga since Brideshead Revisited acquainted us with Sebastian Flyte and his bear. It is worth noting, in passing, that the BBC does not have a monopoly on the genre.

Victoria Summerley: Downton Abbey offers simplicity in a complicated world

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.

Hollywood beckons for stars of Downton Abbey

As the first series draws to a close, ITV's hit drama is set for a Stateside transfer

Sarah Sands: 'Downton Abbey' is sloppy tosh. That's why we love it

What a terrible weekend for the BBC. Not only did strike action take from us the Today programme, Front Row and other middle-class pleasures, but it's been beaten in the field it used to call its own. The most perfect middlebrow drama this year concludes tonight – on ITV.

<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (7 November 2010)

The US copes with having several different time zones, with up to five hours' difference from east to west coasts, so I think Britain can manage being one hour behind central Europe ("We don't want another hour of darkness", 31 October). It will be dark when I get up under GMT in November, just as it was under BST in October. This is in the English Midlands, not the north of Scotland. The extra hour of morning light will, however, allow me to travel to work in the light for a few more weeks, unlike in October. Either way, it would still be dark on the journey home.

Julian Fellowes: Lord and master of Downton Abbey

His Tory politics haven't always gone down well with the arts establishment. But as his latest drama reaches its finale, and with his friends running the country, Britain's proudest snob is having the last laugh

Fellowes denies plagiarism in 'Downton Abbey'

Viewers point out striking similarities between hit ITV drama and other books and films

Downton Abbey: 'Sorry ma'am, the butler's out snowboarding!'

Continuity errors, anachronisms, gaffes, and plain clangers can't halt the rise of period drama

Last Night's TV: Wonderland - High Society Brides/BBC2<br/>A History of the World/BBC4

Judging from the title alone it looked as if High Society Brides was going to be the month's least tactful bit of scheduling. During the day we'd learned that the entire nation was about to go on a bread-and-dripping diet and in the evening it seemed we would be able to cheer ourselves up by watching the upper crust uniting their inherited wealth in the holy bond of matrimony. And, judging from the opening five minutes, it looked as if judging from the title hadn't been entirely misleading. Various women with cut-glass accents recalled when they first met their husband ("Shooting... grouse moor in Yorkshire") or exchanged emollient truisms about wealth. "Money can be a lubricant I think, can't it?" said one musingly. "Mmmm... yes... opens doors," replied another. Oh dear, I'm not going to be able to take a lot of this, I thought. Not when so many people are going to be finding the lubricant in short supply.

Domestic service &ndash; what's changed in 100 years?

As 'Downton Abbey' proves a TV hit, Jonathan Brown finds out what life is like for staff below stairs in the 21st century

Downton Abbey, ITV1, Sunday<br/>Harry &amp; Paul, BBC2, Tuesday<br/>Trinny &amp; Susannah: From Boom to Bust, Channel 4, Thursday

Maggie is marvellous but, lawks a lordy, this period-lite drama shows that where there's a will there isn't always a plot

Culture Club: Eat Pray Love (PG)

Readers review this week's film

Brian Viner: Oh, for the days of parlourmaids

The enduring British fascination with life above and below stairs gets another stoking from Sunday, with ITV's transmission of Downton Abbey, a seven-part drama set in a grand country house just before the First World War and naturally starring, in the regrettable absence of Dame Judi, Dame Maggie Smith.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition