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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
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‘Downton Abbey’ at UMass Boston

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Jessica Fellowes is a preeminent author of companion books for the cult TV show Downton Abbey, a historical drama that follows the lives of British aristocrats during the early 1900s. Fellowes’ visit, sponsored by UMass Boston’s Student Media, took place at the Campus Center on February 1st. 

Jessica Fellowes, author of the official companion book to the hit show “Downton Abbey,” graced the University of Massachusetts Boston this month to talk about her experiences on the set of the show, along with some historical context.
“Downton Abbey” follows the wealthy Crawley family and their servants, focusing particularly on how their lives intertwine. Niece of show writer Julian Fellowes, Jessica Fellowes had much to say about the historical contexts of the show, mentioning the intensity with which the servants did their jobs, and more specifically their dedication to the families they worked for. The historical detail put into the show is astounding; the post-World War I setting directly affects events in the show, specifically the lives of the women. Fellowes spoke of multiple changes that happened to women after World War I; mainly that due to the high soldier death toll, there was nearly double the number of women than men.
Another interesting topic was the cast members behind the characters. One of Fellowes’ most interesting stories was from Maggie Smith, better known as Professor McGonagall from the “Harry Potter” films. When asked about playing her character, Smith told Fellowes, “This is the third old lady I’ve played for [Julian Fellowes], I think I’m getting the hang of it.” Fellowes had nothing but wonderful things to say about the cast and her experience with them.
Fellowes also offered glimpses of what was going to happen with the show, mentioning that there were potential movie talks and that eagle-eyed viewers would be able to see her as a background character in an up-coming episode.
“Downton Abbey” airs on PBS on Sundays at 9/8c.