Downton Abbey

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 8.30pm, Seven The third se­ries of this much loved his­tor­i­cal drama de­buts tonight. Seven has been hold­ing it back a lit­tle. It has al­ready aired in the US where this episode at­tracted a phe­nom­e­nal eight mil­lion view­ers, and in ter­ri­to­ries as far flung as Ice­land and New Zealand, where it be­gan in Oc­to­ber. To say the pro­gram goes from strength to strength is an un­der­state­ment. This sea­son Shirley MacLaine, pic­tured left, joins the cast as Martha Levin­son, the Amer­i­can mother of Cora, Count­ess of Gran­tham (Elizabeth McGovern). Martha’s pres­ence causes an up­heaval, es­pe­cially for Vi­o­let Craw­ley, Dowa­ger Count­ess of Gran­tham, played by Mag­gie Smith, right. Vi­o­let’s haughty an­tiAmer­i­can views have been given free rein in the two pre­vi­ous sea­sons, so this brash, over­con­fi­dent woman is an af­front to sense and sen­si­bil­ity. Also this sea­son, Matthew and Mary tie the knot at last.

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