Downton Abbey movie exciting for etiquette lovers

The movie Downton Abbey is now playing at the Cineplex in Charlottetown, and few people are more excited than etiquette expert and certified butler John Robertson.

The TV series, which follows wealthy aristocrats in 20th century England, ended in 2015 after six seasons. The movie picks up where the television show left off, in the year 1926.

"England has just come through the general strike. Lindbergh has just flown the Atlantic solo. Very exciting times," Roberston said in an interview with Island Morning.

"But the movie focuses entirely and intensely on a single event in the family's life — a royal visit. So that will still only be the backdrop for the plausible or possibly implausible plot lines. But the budget has been huge and the sets and the costumes and the pageantry alone will be worth seeing."

Downton Abbey has always been "ferociously accurate" in its research and presentation, especially with the historical detail in the settings, social customs, attitudes, clothes and hairstyles, Robertson said.

PBS/Masterpiece, Nick Briggs/Associated Press

"So even at times when the plot lines were pure rubbish it was still fascinating to watch."

Robertson said a royal visit would have been huge in the 1920s.

"It would have been far more extravagant than we would ever imagine today. The entire household would go into overdrive from the moment the visit is announced and happily so, it was a great, exciting endeavour," he said.

"But for the host family it's a mixed blessing. Hosting the king and queen ... gave your house great status. But they were a huge financial burden."

Robertson said it was interesting in the TV series to see the women's costumes and hairdos progress from pre-First World War to the mid-1920s. It coincided with a "monumental change in British society" and the role of women.

Submitted by John Robertson

Robertson couldn't help but watch it through the eyes of a butler.

"What I observed in the television series over the whole 15-year period no matter how the clothes and styles changed, how the technology advanced, how their roles changed, they maintained their standards of civility and respect throughout all. And that's my takeaway."

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