Downton Abbey is a British television period drama series, produced by British media company Carnival Films for the ITVnetwork. The series is set during the late Edwardian era (after Edward VII's death) and the First World War on the fictional estate of Downton Abbey in Yorkshire, and features an ensemble cast. It was created and principally written by actor and writer Julian Fellowes, and premiered on ITV on 26 September 2010.British televisionperiod dramaCarnival FilmsITVEdwardian eraEdward VIIYorkshireJulian Fellowes
Overview The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, the Yorkshire country house of theEarl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants early in the reign of George V.Yorkshirecountry houseEarlCountessGranthamaristocraticGeorge V
Highclere CastleHighclere Castle, used for interior and exterior filming of Downton Abbey Highclere CastleHighclere Castle in Hampshire  was used for exterior shots of Downton Abbey as well as for the majority of the interior filming. The servants' living areas were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios. Hampshire Ealing Studios 
VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM The mother of Robert, Earl of Grantham, Violet is proud, loyal to her son and immensely insufferable to her American daughter-in-law Cora, whom she regards as an interloper, a living compromise the family has had to make.
ROBERT, EARL OF GRANTHAM Robert, Earl of Grantham, is married to Cora, an American heiress, whose money helped put Downton Abbey back on its feet. The father of three, Mary, Edith and Sybil, Robert has an uncomplicated life until a succession crisis and a surprising clause in his marriage contract cause upheaval in his family and on the estate.
CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM Cora is the beautiful daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods multi millionaire from Cincinnati. She arrived in England with her mother in 1888 at the age of 20, and was engaged to Robert by the end of her first season.
LADY MARY CRAWLEY, THE OLDEST DAUGHTER Clever, good looking and cold, Mary must come to grips with the notion that the life she imagined for herself may not come to her as easily as she once suspected. Yet, as the oldest daughter, Mary continues to work to secure a suitable husband.
LADY EDITH CRAWLEY, THE SECOND DAUGHTER Resentful of her sister Mary, Edith is good looking and less sought after, but no less ambitious. She is in a half- permanent rage that the interests of her beautiful sister are always placed above hers in any family plan.
LADY SYBIL CRAWLEY, THE YOUNGEST DAUGHTER The family rebel, Lady Sybil Crawley is fiercely political and generally angered by injustice everywhere. Sybil exasperates both parents. She will go through the motions when it comes to the responsibilities of high society, but her true goals in life are well beyond what her parents consider the proper field.
ISOBEL CRAWLEY Isobel is Matthew's widowed mother. She is the daughter of a doctor (her husband studied under her father) and she comes from the professional middle class. She embodies an entirely different set of values than those of the current Downton Abbey inhabitants, being far better educated than either Violet or Cora. Before long, she is in near constant confrontations with Violet. Isobel is intensely proud of her son
MATTHEW CRAWLEY Matthew Crawley is a third cousin, once removed, of Lord Grantham. A practicing attorney, Matthew now finds himself heir to a large estate and is invited to move there. He eventually agrees, but only if he can continue to work. Cora is partly infuriated by this interloper and partly determined that he will marry one of her daughters.
The Downton Staff MR. CARSON, THE BUTLER Carson is in charge of the pantry, wine cellar and dining room, and the male staff report to him. Carson has worked at Downton Abbey since he was a boy. He is endlessly nostalgic for the way things were, and consequently, he more or less becomes an agent for the Dowager Countess. His instinct is to support Lady Mary, whom he genuinely loves as a surrogate daughter.
MRS. HUGHES, HOUSEKEEPER Responsible for the house and its appearance, Mrs. Hughes is also in charge of the female servants. There are three people in Downton who all believe they are head of it Mr. Carson, Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes. Mrs. Hughes is probably right. She is unsentimental but moral and decent.
JOHN BATES, LORD GRANTHAM'S VALET An ex-soldier, John Bates knew Robert during the Boer War. He arrives at Downton Abbey to take the position of valet, but Bates was wounded in the war and it has left him lame, which makes him both defensive and fiercely loyal to Robert for giving him another chance.
Awards and nominations The first series cost an estimated £1 million per episode, and is the most successful British period drama since Brideshead Revisited, with British ratings exceeding 10 million viewers.  The series was also well received in the United States, averaging over 6 million viewers per episode. Brideshead Revisited   Downton Abbey was placed tenth on the Top 10 TV programmes of 2010, and came second in the Top 10 TV dramas of 2010 list, beaten only by Doctor Who. It came first in the Top 10 new drama category.Doctor Who