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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 4 November 2012
The much anticipated Downton Abbey Series 3 starts in Spring 1920, carrying on from the superb Christmas Special which was set over the 1919/20 holiday period. The first episode picks up with Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley at last about to get hitched, but as usual there is quite a lot going on at Downton both above and below stairs and you just know that nothing is going to go smoothly.

Shirley Maclaine soon makes her appearance as Martha Levinson, Lady Grantham's American mother. As usual, Violet, played with style by Maggie Smith manages to set the scene with some rather pithy comments. Martha has no time for the stuffy English and their traditions and is not slow to voice her opinion. Clearly she was introduced as a foil to Maggie Smith and the interplay between the two does work very well as one suspected it would. Violet seems to manage to continue to dominate any scene she is in with or without Martha in attendance!

There are plenty of dramatic and unexpected moments in the new series, as life on the Downton estate returns to more as it was shown in the first series, before the First World War when it served as a convalescent home for injured servicemen. However, in common with other large estates, there are new challenges for Downton in the post war period and it is necessary for there to be changes for Downton to survive. The interaction between the family and those that serve them 'below stairs' continues to be a rich source of story lines for the script writers and is a major contribution to the success of the show.

Downton Abbey is the most successful costume drama from British TV since Brideshead Revisited some thirty years ago which is quite an accolade. Regular viewers of Downton will have been holding their breath wondering whether Series 3 could possibly keep up the very high standards of the previous episodes. However, we need not have worried and few will be disappointed with the latest series. You really wonder how far Downton can go - personally I would not be surprised if it runs up to the 1930s in due course so hopefully plenty to look forward to! The really good news is that we know there will be a two hour Christmas Special in 2012 and although a fourth series has not yet been announced it will be very surprising if it does not follow.

For those of you interested in the extra features, this DVD includes Downton Abbey in 1920, The Men of Downton Abbey, The Wedding of Lady Edith, The Wedding of Lady Mary, an Interview with Shirley Maclaine and Behind the Scenes - The Cricket Match. This is a total of 68 minutes of additional material.

For any reader of this review living outside of Europe, I understand that this DVD is a Region 2 DVD, which means that it will only play on a Region 2 player or a multi region player. Another poster has stated that the blu ray is also region coded this time, whereas Series 1 and 2 were not. The Region 1 (North America) DVD is expected to be released in January and will likely include the 2012 Christmas Special which this DVD does not - The Region 1 Series 2 DVD certainly included the 2011 Christmas Special so this seems very probable.
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on 12 November 2012
No listing of what is on any of the discs, so here I am to help you all. Remember both Blue ray and standard copy are only in stereo, no 5.1 recording has been released.
Disc 1
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding : Film trailer : 2 minutes
Episode 1 - 1 hour 6 minutes
Episode 2 - 47 minutes
Episode 3 - 48 minutes
Extras : Downton Abbey in 1920 : 16 minutes 40 seconds
Disc 2
Episode 4 - 47 minutes
Episode 5 - 47 minutes
Episode 6 - 47 minutes
Extras : The Men of Downton : 8 Minutes 40 seconds
Disc 3
Episode 7 - 47 minutes
Episode 8 - 1 hour 7 minutes
Extras : The wedding of Lady Mary : 12 minutes 30 seconds
The Wedding of Lady Edith : 15 minutes 20 seconds
Shirley Mclaine at Downton Abby, Interview : 8 minutes 45"
Behind The Scenes-The Cricket Match : 6 minutes 30 seconds
Les Miserables Feature : 2 Tailers - 1` 30`` and 2` 30``
Singing Live Featurette : 4 minutes 30 seconds
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 4 November 2012
Series 3 introduces Cora's mother Martha,in 1920, superbly played by Shirley MacLaine. A challenge for the Dowager Violet (Maggie Smith) who can speak volumes with an aside frown or one-liner? Full of thrills, emotion, sharp-tongued wit, it sets the episodes to follow. Matthew and Mary return from their honeymoon, all lovey-dovey, with Martha doing things in the American style, not to everyones taste.

Violet sets to work with attacking charm. Of course, this revolves around the rest of the cast, magnificently written by Julian Fellowes. Matthew (Dan Stevens) has the money to bail the financial Downton disaster but is not forthcoming. Anna Bates (Jeanne Froggatt) never says die and gets her reward with Bates. Matthew and Robert (Hugh Bonneville) have short shrift on the estate. Thomas (Rob James-Collier) and O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran) seem to be in cahoots but the situation takes a change.

Thank goodness for the female intuition. The sparkling and tense above and below stairs works wonders. Sense has the final say. Lady Edith is almost content with new work and potential romance, Lady Mary still strong, butler Carson demonstrable and Violet's great niece Rose adds another dimension. Takes a cricket match to sort it all out. Where do we go from here? The ending leaves another series wide open. A Christmas Day Special is eagerly awaited. I'm sure Julian Fellowes has more up his sleeve. Wonderful fun and entertainment. Another hole in Sunday night programmes. Enjoy the recordings. Say no more apart from an hour plus of extras.
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on 31 January 2013
I am German and I watch Downton Abbey in English due to the fact, that the use of the language is (compared to the American English) so easy to understand. Thes classical roles in those times before and after the World War I five me a very good impression of the situation in England. I learned a lot of the duties in such a big house. I never knew that there were different postions like: first and second footmen, a butler and a valet. As a German I thougt there are butlers (who are ironing the newspapers) and some kitchenmaid. But that there were housmaids, kitchesmaids, ladys maids etc. was new for me.
I love the old words like "hobbledehoy" , "flabbergasted" or "crikey".

The actors are brilliant. Maggie Smith as that rusty, clever old bat. Elisabeth Mcgovern and Shirley Mclaine as the American salt in that English soup. Jim Carter as Carson is a picture of an Butler. Here sticks more to the old fashioned standards than the lordship/ladyship themselves. It's a pleasure to listen to what comes out of his very noble mouth.

To keep ist short. If you want to take a glimpse in the times before and after World War I and if you are interested in the problems of all sorts of people (rich and poor, English and Irish, men and women) than go for it. If you like "Upstairs - Downstairs" with the Bellamys, Hudson, Mrs. Bridges, Rose, etc. you will love it.

Greetings from Germany.
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on 6 November 2012
The 2013 diary is absolutely stunning!! High quality pictures on high quality paper. A truly beautiful product and a must have for Downton Fans like myself!! I really recommend this stunning product!! Go on treat yourself to the wonderful episodes of series 3 as well as the diary!! Go on!!!
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Aristocracy in its purest and most realistic form. Actors are wonderful, realistic scenarios, psychological aspects of class clash unravelled. Lovely setting .
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on 31 January 2015
The programme itself is obviously great, obviously all the millions of fans pretty much prove that so you don't really need me to tell you about that and i am not concerned my one star will have any negative effect on the sales!
However, massive caution - these box sets are not complete and the Christmas specials are missing so i think a complete rip off to infer you are buying the complete series! I excitedly lined up the first in the next series only to be completely confused and bamboozled by the storyline before I eventually looked it up on line and realised what had happened - so not only is it frustrating you have to go and buy that but far worse you then spoil the plot completely for yourself as all the major stuff obviously always happens at Christmas in these things and is immediately given away pretty much the minute you start watching the new series! So far I think this has been on series 2, 3 and 4 (so will put the same review on those) but imagine there may be more later.
It is obviously up to the producers of the DVDs to sell what they want for whatever price they want and not even saying that the price they charge is necessarily wrong but it is being mislead that is so wrong!
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on 6 March 2013
I have not yet seen it all , but , so far it is first rate . A well written script , with the lines delivered by well spoken actors , who have been well cast . The sets and scenery are superb as are the costumes and props. I particularly like the table settings furniture and curtains, and the old cars , where do they find all these things .
I would recommend it to anyone interested in the theatre , and suggest that it might be a good tool to anyone who is studying the manners and speech of the aristocracy in that era .
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on 1 January 2013
Great story and a HUGE (shocking) surprise half-way through the season. I was thrilled to sit and watch all the episodes in a sort of marathon over several days. Violet stays true to her personality and remains my favorite character. Although Robert has trouble with adapting to change and the phrase "on my side" occurs quite often, and the costumes are not as exquisite as I expected the series was a smash hit! I am in America and ordered from Amazon UK so that I could see it sooner, and it was well worth it. LOVE it!
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on 2 May 2013
This product was delivered promptly and a present for my wife who had seen only the previous series. She thoroughly enjoyed this DVD. Highly recommended in terms of quality, entertainment value and price
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