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Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice? Yes There is a Connection

February 10, 2013

It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a pretty good overlap amongst fans of Jane Austen’s  Pride and Prejudice and fans of Downton Abbey.

So what’s a Downton Abbey fan to do when one of here favorite characters (Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens)

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is killed off? Yes he does do a good job of looking dead. Perhaps he’d make a good zombie as well.

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Well it would be a shame to waste all that heart-throbbiness, so what’s an actor and the costume drama industry to do?

Well, there is always the Jane Austen franchise to consider.

Here’s Colin Firth setting hearts a flutter playing the role of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice in 1995.

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Perhaps Pride and Prejudice has been done to death in recent times? But wait, it turns out that other talented authors have sought to carry on where Jane Austen left off. P.D James (below) wrote a sequel to Pride and Prejudice in 2011 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/books/death-comes-to-pemberley-by-p-d-james-review.html), entitled “Death Comes to Pemberley”.

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Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times review of the book.

“The story is set in 1803, six years after “Pride and Prejudice” was finished (though it wasn’t published until 1813) and presumably when the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy took place. They have two young sons now, and the arrival of a third child is shortly to be announced. But their tranquillity is interrupted one wet and windy evening when an unexpected carriage comes rocketing up the drive.

Inside is Elizabeth’s airhead sister Lydia, the one who eloped with the charming but unreliable George Wickham, screaming that her husband is dead. Actually he isn’t, though many, including Darcy, for whom Wickham is a constant source of embarrassment and irritation, might wish he were. A search party discovers Wickham in the woods, drunk and bloodstained, beside the body of his best friend, Captain Denny, and he babbles what sounds like a confession. But is Wickham, although a deadbeat and a serial seducer of young women, really a murderer? Even Darcy can’t quite believe that of him.”

And here’s the potentially juicy news. Poor dead Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) from Downton Abbey may be reappearing as Darcy in the P.D. James riff on Jane Austen (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276513/Swapping-Downton-Pemberley-Could-Matthew-BBCs-Mr-Darcy.html).
and there may even be parallels with Downton Abbey itself:

“Pemberley, which the novel suggests is like any great estate in having a continuing life, regardless of who happens to hold the title, turns out to be a burden more than the blessing it first appears to Elizabeth (and even more so to her grasping mother). With a great fortune, it turns out, comes great responsibility.”

So fear not, life taketh away, but life also giveth. Sure, go ahead and keep watching the Dan Stevens-free Downton Abbey with a clear conscience, for Mr. Stevens will no doubt soon be popping up in another juicy role and maybe even in another English estate.
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