Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Aya Radwan   Aya Radwan  

British period drama Downton Abbey takes us to the beginning of the 20th century when we meet the Crawley Family. The Crawleys are the Earls of Grantham, and they live in a massive English estate called Downton Abbey, hence the show’s name. During the show’s runtime, we see how events in the domestic and international scenes affect the Crawleys until we get to the diminishing effect of British aristocrats.

Downton Abbey was a worldwide success. So, in this article, we will discuss your most-asked questions regarding the show. From questions about the storyline, the show’s characters, their fates, the two sequel film adaptations and where you can watch Downton Abbey today.

General Questions About Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey certainly caught our eye from the start, with its name, lavish country estate and its intricately woven characters. Before we dive into questions about the show’s plot, we’ll demystify some facts about its interesting name and the time during which it takes place.

Why is it called Downton Abbey?

The show’s name has some resemblance to reality, as its creator, Julian Fellows, explained. Fellows admired his great-grandfather’s, John Wrightson’s, work in the agricultural field. John founded the Downton College of Agriculture, and Julian wanted to honour his great-grandfather’s work, hence the show’s name.

Why is Downton Abbey called an abbey?

The name of Downton Abbey was built on Highclere Castle’s early history, when the Bishops of Winchester were the owners of the estate, back in the 8th century. The estate’s ecclesiastical status remained until the mid-16th century when King Edward VI confiscated the estate.

What year is Downton Abbey set in? And what era is it set in?

Downton Abbey is set back in the early 1910s, beginning in 1912, to be exact. The show’s six seasons began in 1912 and ended in 1925, while the two film adaptations began in 1927 and ended the following year, in 1928. This period of time is often dubbed the post-Edwardian era, a period where British aristocrats lived lavishly under the reign of King Edward VII. The show begins with the political and global events that affect the Crawleys and their servants, starting with the sinking of the Titanic.

Is Downton Abbey based on a real story?

No. The show’s writers drew inspiration from several historical British figures, such as the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the real owners of Highclere Castle, depicted in the show as Downton Abbey.

Can you visit Downton Abbey? How many square feet is the abbey?

Yes, you can. The late 17th century Highclere Castle in Hampshire is the home of the Crawley Family in the show known as Downton Abbey. The spacious castle is 5,000 acres, which equals 100,000 square feet. Highclere Castle hosted both the series and the films.

What is a footman in Downton Abbey?

A footman in Downton Abbey is a male servant who rode on his master’s carriage as a protective measure against any arousing problems. He also frequently waited at the tables in his master’s household.

Everything about the Show’s Seasons and Episodes

Downton Abbey’s first season began in 2010, and the last season aired in 2015. Let us bring you all the details about the seasons and a few more details about the episodes.

How many episodes was Downton Abbey? And how long are the episodes?

There are 52 episodes of Downton Abbey, divided across 6 seasons. The original run time of both the opening and closing episodes of each season was 90 minutes, while the middle episodes were set at 75 minutes each. However, from the start of the third season in 2012, the opening episode remained at 90 minutes long, and all the remaining episodes were cut down to an hour.

How many episodes are in season 1 of Downton Abbey?

The show’s first season included only 7 episodes, and it’s the only season that wasn’t followed by a Christmas special episode after it ended.

How many episodes are in the show’s last season?

Downton Abbey’s last season, season 6, has 8 episodes and one Christmas special at the end.

When does the new season of the show start?

Downton Abbey ended with season 6 back in 2015, and although there were talks about a seventh season, the talk never materialised in real life.

How many seasons are there of Downton Abbey?

Downton Abbey stopped at six seasons, with season 1 having 7 episodes, while all following seasons were 8 episodes each. Starting from season 2, a special episode followed each season until the show ended in 2015, with another special episode.

The Show’s Characters and Their Fates

Downton Abbey begins with the Crawley Family and their lavish life in the British countryside, with their servants and relations with other aristocratic families. We’ll try as much as we can not to burn all the details about the show, just giving you enough pieces to draw you in to watch the show.

Who are the main actors on the show?

We will focus on the Crawley Family for this question.

Actor/ActressThe character on the Show
Hugh BonnevilleRobert Crawley
Elizabeth McGovernCora Crawley
Maggie SmithViolet Crawley
Michelle DockeryMary Crawley
Laura CarmichaelEdith Crawley
Jessica Brown FindlaySybil Crawley
Dan StevensMatthew Crawley
Penelope WiltonIsobel Crawley

Who was Sybil? Why did she leave Downton? And what happened to her?

Sybil was the youngest Crawley and a rebel since her early years, refusing social and political restrictions imposed on women in the 1910s. She headed to the front line during WWI, where she served as a nurse, during which she contemplated her feelings for her family’s driver, Tom. The couple got married and ran to Dublin, and they only returned to Downton Abbey after earning Lord Grantham’s blessing. Sybil was pregnant at the time and gave birth at Downton but died afterwards from eclampsia.

Who was Lady Rose?

Lady Rose MacClare is the youngest of the MacClares, the Lord and Lady of Flintshire. She disregarded common sense and fell in love with a married man.

When did Matthew die? And in which episode?

Matthew Crawley was a distant cousin of the Crawleys, and he died in a car crash after his wife, Mary Crawley, gave birth to their son, George. It was in the Christmas special following the show’s third season.

How old was Mary in season 1? And who did she marry later?

Mary Crawley, the Crawley’s eldest, was 21 in season 1. She married her distant cousin, Matthew Crawley, after the death of her fiancé.

Why did O’Brien leave Downton? And what happened to her?

Sarah O’Brien was Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid, and she left Downton Abbey to serve as Lady Flintshire’s lady’s maid in Scotland. It was Siobhan Finneran’s, the actress who played Sarah, decision to leave the show after her initial contract ended.

Who did Edith marry?

Edith married the Marquess of Hexham, Bertie Pelham.

Who played Mrs Bates on the show? And what happened to her?

Maria Doyle Kennedy played Mrs Bates on the show. She died from ingesting rat poison after all her attempts to make money off her husband, John Bates, failed terribly.

Did Cora die on the show?


Who played Mrs Patmore?

Actress Lesley Nicol.

Who played Lavinia? And did she die on the show?

Actress Zoe Boyle played Lavinia Swire, Matthew Crawley’s fiancée, on the show, and she died of Spanish influenza.

Who killed Mr Green?

Despite suspicions surrounding Anna, Mr Bates and Lord Gillingham of killing Mr Green, it was one of Greens’ victims who pushed him into the middle of the street, where a passing bus ran him over.

Who played Anna on the show? And how old was she throughout the show?

Actress Joanne Froggatt played Anna Bates on the show. She was 26 when she first appeared on the show and aged 38 by the end.

Who was Marigold? And who played her role?

Marigold Gregson was Lady Edith Crawley’s and Michael Gregson’s illegitimate child. Twin sisters Eva and Karina Samms played her role from Downton’s 5th season through to the Downton films.

Why did Jimmy leave Downton?

Jimmy, a new footman at Downton starting in season 3, had to leave because Lord Grantham accidentally caught him in an inappropriate encounter with Jimmy’s former employer, Lady Anstruther.

The Downton Abbey Film

Following the unprecedented success of the Downton Abbey TV series, Julian Fellowes, the series writer, announced the story would continue with the Downton Abbey film. Fans were lucky enough not to get only one but two film continuations of the TV series. The first film, Downton Abbey, was released in 2019, and the second one, Downton Abbey: A New Era, was released in 2022. Most of the series’ original cast returned to the screen in the films to reprise their roles.

Where to watch the Downton Abbey Film?

You can find the Downton Abbey film on HBO MAX, Amazon Prime, Spectrum TV, Redbox, Apple TV, VUDU, premium subscription on Peacock and ROW8.

Who plays the Queen in Downton Abbey film?

Geraldine James played the role of Queen Mary in the first Downton Abbey film.

Where to watch Downton Abbey

A hit period drama such as Downton Abbey used to air on numerous TV channels, and since the show concluded its sixth season, it became available to watch on online streaming services as well. Here’s what you need to know about where to watch this intriguing period drama.

Which TV Channel is showing Downton Abbey?

The show is not currently on any TV channel. It used to air on ITV, but now it’s available on ITV premium account only.

Where can I watch Downton Abbey for free?

Peacock is an online streaming service that has a free streaming plan, and the show is available to watch through this plan. The only downside is this free plan is ad-supported, meaning commercial ads will interrupt your watching time for a specific number through each episode. If you wish to watch the show without ads, you will have to sign up for a premium plan.

Where to watch Downton Abbey online?

Subscribers can watch it on Amazon Prime, NBC and Peacock. If you’re looking to buy or rent the show, you can do so for a range between €1.84 and €2.77 on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and VUDU.

How to watch Downton Abbey on Netflix?

Unfortunately, Downton Abbey is no longer available to watch on Netflix, even on a subscriber’s account. The streaming network had signed a one-year-only streaming contract with the production company, which ended in June 2022.

Is Downton Abbey coming back to PBS?

PBS was one of two main broadcasting networks in the US that aired all episodes of the show until it ended. Afterwards, the network’s streaming service, called Passport, was among several streaming services that picked up the show for online streaming. You will have until the end of January 2024 to watch the show using a PBS Passport.

Is Downton Abbey worth watching?


What we think about Downton Abbey is no matter how much you try to anticipate the plot twists, a surprise twist will certainly throw you off-track and keep you on the edge of your chair.

What to watch after Downton Abbey?

If you’ve finished Downton Abbey and feel hungry for another intriguing storyline, infamous high-class life and interlinking plot twists, we recommend you watch The Gilded Age. Although this show is set across the ocean, in New York City, the plot, perfectly woven characters, and political and social struggles will feed your hunger.

Which Downton Abbey character are you?

Personality quizzes built on the success of shows or film franchises are very popular, even though they don’t have any scientific basis and are mainly for entertainment purposes. Quiz-makers utilised the show’s success to lure in fans for some fun, to let them discover which of the show’s characters they resemble, and we’ve chosen one for you that we think is rather interesting.

We hope our dive through this beloved English period drama was as fun and charming for you as it was for us. We’re certain you’re going to love watching it.

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