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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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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 100 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 6 November 2012
Alert to potential buyers in the US and other non-Region B countries: unlike Seasons 1 and 2, the Blu-Ray for Season 3 is not region-free. It is locked for Region B. Wish I had known that before making the purchase; I had assumed that Season 3 would have been handled the same way as prior seasons.
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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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 March 2016
The post world war 1 was a time of change for the great houses of England. Modernisation with respect to how these estates are managed became the key to their survival, especially when his lordships investments go wrong. To the rescue comes Matthew both financially and with a view to modernisation.
There are also periods of sadness and joy for all levels of the Downton house hold, with others fairing better than others.
However, for a dramatic and unexpected ending, nothing compares to the conclusion of the Christmas Special.
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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 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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on 9 January 2014
Downton Abbey - Series 3 [DVD]
This series 3 as well as previous series & series 4 are INCOMPLETE. The studio deliberately leaves out chapter 9 & sells it separately as a special!!! Making $$$ is their first concern - regardless of very unhappy customers because the storyline from series to series makes no sense. I have been dealing with the sellers & Amazon & they are also duped. The US version has all 9 episodes in each series. So, folks, don't buy any more Downton Abbey Series from the UK as you WILL NOT BE GETTING THE COMPLETE SERIES!!! This unhappy knowledge has taken me some time to learn. My seller, who has been very very helpful, informed me what the UK studio is doing. Amazon is duped. All of the sellers are duped & there is no public knowledge of what's happening. So now you know.
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I did toy with giving series three of Downton Abbey four stars as I didn't think it was quite as good as the first two series. On reflection however, it is still a good drama and generally consistantly watchable.

There were shocks, new characters and it did keep you watching. I thought that the last episode was a bit on the weak side with the story of the annoying Rose a bit odd and the fact that Bates went so much out of his way to help Thomas a tad unrealistic. I have to say that if Cora carries on sounding too much like the chef out of the Muppets she will become a joke figure so that needs to be watched. I also felt that some of the dialogue was too corny especially between Matthew and Mary.

What was good was Maggie Smith of course who is still the best thing about the whole series and the unexpected loss of a main character that I genuinely didn't see coming. This was clever writing and showed that some stories could still shock. I would like to see Joanne Froggatt given more meat to her character of Anna as this time she was a bit too simpering and she needs a stronger role as she is a very good actress. There is still life left in Downton but it does need to be careful that it doesn't descend too much into a parody that would make it seem like a mickey take. For all that though, it is a still a treat and let's hope for a little more consistancy next time.
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