March 31, 2011
BRITISH author A.N. Wilson writes in a recent issue of The Daily Mail about the TV hit “Downton Abbey,” the hugely popular BBC Masterpiece Theater series about the lives of Edwardian aristocrats and their servants. Wilson contends viewers gained an overly flattering picture of Britain’s pre-socialist past. That is dangerous. He says the cult of costume dramas is not merely silly or sentimental but “sinister.”
It’s important to note his words. It is wrong and evil to portray the past in a flattering light. Wilson is incensed by remarks by Hugh Bonneville, the actor who plays Lord Grantham, an aristocrat who does not want to lose the family manor because of his love for his ancestral past. Bonneville, who plays opposite Elizabeth McGovern as his wife, the Countess of Grantham, and Maggie Smith as the elderly Dowager Countess, made the following comments on the set of the show:
This country is currently in a complete mess, and the pre-World War I era, rightly or wrongly, was one in which the structure of society worked.
That would seem to suggest that Mr. Bonneville thinks the ‘complete mess’ of our country would be resolved if we went back to pre-1914 Britain. Does he really mean this?
Does [Bonneville] want to abolish votes for women, or limit the franchise to men over 21? Or send homosexuals to prison? Or dismantle the Welfare State, or abolish the National Health Service? Read More »