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Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1 (2011)

 Unrated |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16,295 customer reviews)

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This is the domestic U.S. release of the original, uncut U.K. broadcast version of Downton Abbey and is formatted for playback in North America.
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Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1 + Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey Season 2 (Original U.K. Edition) + Downton Abbey Season 4 DVD (U.K. Edition)
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 368 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16,295 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0047H7QD6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,963 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1" on IMDb

Special Features

Making of Downton Abbey
A House in History
Great British Heritage Pass, a promotional spot for British tourism

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

An addictive blend of suds and social commentary, ITV's Downton Abbey brings a microcosm of Edwardian society together under one roof. Lord Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) and his family live a life of leisure, while a fleet of servants, including butler Carson (Jim Carter), attend to their every need, but two events conspire to shake things up: the sinking of the Titanic, which claims Crawley's heirs, and the return of his valet, Bates (Brendan Coyle). Since Crawley and Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) have three daughters, his distant solicitor cousin, Matthew (Dan Stevens), becomes heir to the estate. With that, the scheming begins, since Thomas the footman (Rob James-Collier) views Bates as an interloper and Crawley's mother, Violet (Maggie Smith), feels the same way about Matthew's mother, Isobel (Penelope Wilton).

In the tradition of the BBC's Upstairs Downstairs and Robert Altman's Gosford Park, for which writer-creator Julian Fellowes received an Academy Award, the royals, servants, and middle-class relations struggle to get along. Sniffs uptight maid Miss O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran), "Gentlemen don't work," but that doesn't stop Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) from competing for Matthew's affections. Though it takes awhile to warm up to the tightest-wound characters, most everyone reveals their more vulnerable side before the first season comes to an end, and a new small-screen classic is born.

The entire sprawling cast is quite wonderful, particularly Bonneville, Carter, and James-Collier, who provide a fascinating study in contrasts (the latter is downright dastardly). Unlike the version that aired on PBS's Masterpiece Classic, this set offers seven parts rather than four. Extras include a featurette, in which cast and crew discuss the production, and an introduction to Hampshire's Highclere Castle, which doubles for Downton Abbey. The first season was a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, and Fellowes has promised a second season set during World War I. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Downton Abbey -- a sprawling, lavish Edwardian mansion nestled in the Yorkshire landscape -- needs an heir. Dame Maggy Smith stars as Violet, the stubborn Dowager Countess of Grantham matriarch of Downton. Hugh Bonneville stars as her son, the stoic, unflapple Lord Crawley. Elizabeth McGovern is his far-sighted American wife, Cora. From Academy Award-winner Julian Fellowes. This is the original un-edited UK version of the program.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2,176 of 2,254 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Alert....varying editions.. January 24, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There appears to be two (2) editions of Downton Abbey....in watching the past 3 episodes as presented on my PBS station, I have become increasingly aware that the editing was very "jumpy"....short short sequences to a meaningful story line.....then, I discovered that there is an edition, UK edition, that is full length....meaning there are 7 episodes in total....the edition being shown on my local PBS station, is all of 4 episodes....and the shifty scenes that I am observing on the Sunday night presentation have been edited for USA viewers.
To me, this is ruinous to a finely produced English landscape, pre-world war I.

Just be more alert to this. I am not aware of any information from my PBS station to this effect, that I am indeed viewing a condensed version of Downton Abbey....

I have just purchased DVD, UK edition of Downton Abbey to view in my home....this should be a more in-depth story, without the shifting of scenes that add up to being difficult to the entire story line.
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1,215 of 1,268 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY THE DUMBED DOWN PBS VERSION! February 1, 2011
Format:DVD
EDIT: I am revising my post and giving this 5 Stars instead of one as PartlyCloudy has kindly pointed out that my review of the PBS version has ended up under the "UK version". There is much confusion out there since the infamous Daily Mail article claimed that a full two hours of the original ITV series had been cut by PBS. Many claim the cuts are minor and unnoticeable. I'd venture to guess that about 35 minutes were edited out of the original, but more importantly, it was a hack job and many scenes do not play out as intended. Below is my slightly revised review of the PBS version which you should avoid at all costs:

Do not buy the so-called "dumbed down" PBS version of the outstanding British ITV series Downton Abbey. We watched the entire series with great joy while in the UK last year, and after excitedly telling our American friends to watch Downton Abbey on PBS, my husband and I looked at each other in horror and confusion as we watched one butchered scene after another. Don't be misled by those who recalculate the running time to account for the removal of commercials (from the ITV version) or the reformatting to shorten the series by increasing episode length (7 episodes in the UK, 4 longer episodes in the US). The fact is, SCENES WERE OMITTED AND OR TRUNCATED because as PBS Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton shamefully admitted, "American audiences demand a `different speed' to their shows." She also claimed that American audiences would have trouble understanding the complicated inheritance issues. Wow. This is an extraordinary admission from a PBS executive. Don't people turn to PBS for an intelligent alternative to the idiocy of American commercial television? I submit it is Rebecca Eaton who is dumb, not the PBS viewership.
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708 of 772 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, if a tad flawed, Edwardian series November 13, 2010
Format:DVD
Julian Fellowes has mined his script for Gosford Park, and took a few cues from the beloved 1970s series Upstairs, Downstairs - Collector's Edition Megaset (The Complete Series plus Thomas and Sarah), to create Downton Abbey, a stunning and colorful drama set around the aristocratic Crawley family and the staff which serves them. Set between 1912 and 1914, Downton Abbey chronicles the conflict of class, gender, and politics, and serves it up with a refreshing dollop of sizzle and scandal. Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, and Dame Maggie Smith (as Robert, Earl of Grantham, Cora, Countess of Grantham, and Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, respectively) are knock outs, but the rest of the cast are no slouches either, with the stunning Michelle Dockery at the forefront as Lady Mary Crawley, who is the selfish, proud, and vindictive eldest daughter you can't help but like. The actors and the stunning interiors of Highclere Castle, home to the Earls of Carnarvon, give Downton Abbey a glossy, sophisticated sheen, even when the script's twists and turns can be a bit of a let-down. Nevertheless, the drama is engrossing and invigorating, and a worthy addition to the collection of any period drama aficionado--and anyone who likes good drama, period!
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207 of 225 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
A transporting miniseries from PBS, the crisp and delightful "Downton Abbey" is easily my favorite Masterpiece Theater presentation since the impeccable "Bleak House." Perhaps not as austere as you might expect, "Downton Abbey" combines an "Upstairs, Downstairs" drama with some rather soapy plot points and a healthy dose of scathing British wit. While many of the recent successful Masterpiece Theater productions have benefited from a distinguished literary pedigree, this original creation was whipped up with considerable verve by Julian Fellowes--who mined similar territory and won an Oscar for the screenplay of "Gosford Park." Aired on U.S. television stations in four longer parts, this set appropriately reconfigures the program into seven distinct episodes as they were originally intended.

Simply put, "Downton Abbey" tells the story of one English estate consisting of the Crawley family and their household staff in the years preceding World War I. Fellowes does an incredible job introducing his massive cast. Sometimes when dozens of characters are thrown at you immediately, it takes a while to sort everyone out--but no such problem here. Within the first half hour, I had everything I needed to know about the house dynamic and the role everyone played in it. There are many plot strands threaded throughout the production, but the main drama stems from the fact that the apparent heirs for Downton Abbey are killed on the Titanic. Unable to appoint a female inheritor (the Crawleys have three daughters), a distant and middle-class relative is next in line. When this city lawyer and his mother arrive to become acquainted with the property, the drama starts to unfold.

There is a LOT going on in this house--both in the servants quarters and in the master chambers!
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Captions
Yes, it is. Both season 1 and season 2.
Feb 9, 2012 by Mary McManus |  See all 5 posts
is there any english subtitles
Yes, there are English subtitles. No French or other language, though.
Jul 9, 2011 by MMJ fan |  See all 5 posts
Has anyone had dvd's that were jumpy?
Good news! Well, possibly anyway. I was having the same problems you've all described, and, after noticing it played fine on my folks' old tube TV, I made some adjustments on my high def TV which seems to drastically improve the jumpiness. If you turn off the "cinemotion" or... Read More
Dec 9, 2012 by M. Bartsch |  See all 13 posts
"Public" but for the HOH.
It isn't listed here, but on the BBCAmerica website, it lists this same DVD with "English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired"?

http://www.bbcamericashop.com/dvd/downton-abbey-series-1-16086.html

So I would say it does have subtitles. Or are you just talking about...
Jan 22, 2011 by R. Lepper |  See all 4 posts
spoiler or blindside?
Foisting immorality on viewers? A bit melodramatic, don't you think?

The scene between Thomas and the duke was hardly celebratory of their sexuality. And if the disturbing part of the scene to you was their kissing rather than theft, blackmail, lying, manipulation - well, you kind of missed... Read More
Jan 27, 2011 by MaryE |  See all 49 posts
which version is unedited? the uk version? Be the first to reply
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