Mitchell Reports | January 08, 2013
>>> it's the return of downtown abbey, and season three kicked off this week with a whopping 7.9 million people tuning in to watch the much awaited wedding of lady mary and cousin matthew. it was the second most watched network on sunday night. this summer nbc 's mary went to the set of downtown in london and talked to creator julian fellows .
>> oh, dear. i'm afraid the war has made old women of us both.
>> surely a kind. what a call that was.
>> and what is marvelous is you've got the figure to know maggie smith , who plays -- and she essentially is nostalgic for the old world. whereas shirley mcclain's character, she thinks the opposite. the exact opposite. she thinks all this change is great.
>> though downtown abbey's setting is decidedly british majestic, split between the privileged and those who serve them, the starting point for the show creator julian fellows has always been decidedly american. principalably in the form of the leading lady played by elizabeth mcgovern .
>> i was reading a book about the american heiresses, you know, the so-called buccaneers who came over to rescue a lot of, you know, other impoverished families and married into the english upper class , so they became a kind of class within a class.
>> just a minute. zoo may think that you have the right to ordain the universe, but in this field --
>> not in this field. in this house, yes, i do have the right.
>> joining me now is mary , veteran broadcaster with nbc sports and part-time downtown abbey chronicler. mary , this is just wonderful. what a treat.
>> i was among the eight million.
>> so was i. believe me. even after the redskins sunday fight came home and watched it and restored my spirits somewhat. so let's talk about downtown. it's a better subject than what happened on sunday night. you know, it's just an extraordinary drama. the acting is superb. when elizabeth mcgovern and some of the other actors came to washington through the british embassy , you would not believe how jaded washingtonians crowded in to shake hands and get a picture taken.
>> the acting obviously, but the writing. jewel airborne fellows , the creator, the writer of it, is all those people that he has created his own self, i think, is the mosting interesting. julian was an actor. certainly not a leading man. he started in this business as an actor, and then had he small parts in small manufactures, and then, you know, the great director robert altman asked him to write godsford park, and then he went back to this period drama , this time that is so interesting, and the good news for all of us, andrea, especially at nbc , is that julian fellows is writing a new show for nbc called "the guilded age ," and it's at the same time when all -- when doubt ab wri is happening. it's going to be happening in the united states . people are losing millions and barrons and all of that. i think he writes characters very well. we all care so much about what's going on what's going on upstairs and downstairs and i'm thrilled. i'm thrilled that the show is doing so well.
>> well, and maybe they could recycle the costumes which are superb. tell me about the set because were you in the grand home in which they shoot it? or do they have a stage set in london ? take us behind the scenes .
>> they have different sets. the day that i spoke with julian fellows was actually in london but we did get to -- we did a story for the london olympics on nobility, royalty, when's the difference between the two and we didn't go to high clair castle where a lot of the story is shot for "downton abbey" but we watched them shoot a scene and it is again such a -- i've been on other sets of other shows. this one is a remarkable production and everything has to be so exact and there's all kinds of people making sure that julian fellows ' ideas are being carried out properly and i think what's so interesting this season is that we saw martha and shirley malain and dismissive and her cora is, you know, a progressive, as well, but mary , you know, their daughter and just married, the big sunday night special, she likes that old style stuff. she wants to be british. she wants the long driveway and the, you know, the butlers and the valets and needing the forks at dinner time . and so, i just think a lot's going to happen in season 3 and julian fellows is a remarkable fellow.
>> well, and we will be there every step of the way. mary , what a treat. thank you. glad you had a good time with it.