Downton Abbey: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes

Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010)



Critic Consensus: Downton Abbey transcends its soapy plotting with witty dialogue, lavish costumes and sets, and an outstanding cast.


Downton Abbey: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The acclaimed costume drama opens in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, which punctures the succession plans of Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), the Earl of Grantham?his title and estate are legally entailed to only pass to a male, and he and his wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) have only produced daughters Mary ( Michelle Dockery) , Edith ( Laura Carmichael) and Sybil ( Jessica Brown Findlay). Mary, the eldest, had been slated to marry a distant cousin who was aboard the doomed ship with his father, the presumptive heir. And although Cora and Robert's tart-tongued mother ( Maggie Smith) think he should break the entailment so that the family's fortune can be left to the children, to do so would likely mean the end of his beloved estate; British laws at the time excluded women from inheriting property. Thus, he instead undertakes a search for a new heir, and finds one in the form of young middle-class solicitor Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), who arrives at Downton with his own outspoken mother (Penelope Wliton). As the first season progresses, Mary and Matthew come to share something of a love-hate relationship; Mary weathers a potentially scandalous incident; and Sybil begins to show an interest in politics. A la the classic "Upstairs, Downstairs," the series also delves into the lives of the estate's staff, including by-the-book butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), first footman Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle), Robert's former batman-turned-valet.


Maggie Smith
as Violet Crawley
Hugh Bonneville
as Lord Grantham
Elizabeth McGovern
as Lady Grantham
Laura Carmichael
as Lady Edith
Dan Stevens (IV)
as Matthew Crawley
Penelope Wilton
as Isobel Crawley
Jim Carter
as Carson
Brendan Coyle
as John Bates
Phyllis Logan
as Mrs Hughes
Lesley Nicol
as Mrs Patmore
Allen Leech
as Tom Branson
Theo James
as Kemal Pamuk
Rose Leslie
as Gwen Dawson
Brendan Patricks
as Evelyn Napier
Thomas Howes
as William Mason
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Critic Reviews for Downton Abbey: Season 1

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (13)

It will satisfy the commoner in all of us, and for the toffs, Downton Abbey is as bracing as a good day's hunting.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The story is so smartly written by Fellowes, and the characters are so well-acted, that it all feels engagingly fresh - and poignant, too.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Downton Abbey captures everything that viewers loved about Upstairs, Downstairs or Pride and Prejudice.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…

The superb cast manages to rise above the often-terrible writing, though sometimes you can almost catch them wincing as they deliver the truly awful lines.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…

The quotient of melodrama is through the roof.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Very early on, it seemed the show was going to be an unapologetic ode to this type of living and the notion of noble masters and humble servants, but things proved to be more complicated than that.

September 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Downton Abbey: Season 1


The best period drama on TV began with an interesting set of lovable characters and feel-good writing.


Super Reviewer


One of the most interesting historical dramas I have ever seen. Truly interesting characters and worth watching.


Super Reviewer

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