Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Downtown Abbey - ESL Worksheet - IELTS

Hello, and thank you for visiting!

I've been away for a long time - much longer than I wanted to be, but am back in business. I'm actually working on an IELTS-related project which I hope to talk about soon. Today's worksheet comes out of that and I hope I will have more such pages for you in the future!

This worksheet is about Downtown Abbey, an extremely popular British television show. You'll need to download the worksheet to view it and use it.

I'm excited to announce that I'll be doing a free online IELTS Reading course very soon. I'll be teaching it live and I want to make it as interactive as possible. Spaces are limited to 20 students. If you're interested in improving your IELTS Reading score in the next few weeks, visit my blog this Tuesday (September 30) for registration!

Thanks again for visiting and have a great week!

Painting of a mother and daughter

At first glance, Downtown Abbey is nothing more than a quietly charming television show. Look closer, however, and you will find it is much more than that. In fact, it seems that this British television drama series has taken the world by storm since it started in 2010. At least 200 million people have watched Downtown Abbey at least once. You will find devoted fans all around the world, in countries such as the United States, China and Sweden. More than 100 countries have broadcast rights.

For those who are new to Downtown Abbey, it is basically an elegant "soap opera" set in the early 1900s. It is about the aristocratic Crawley family. Downtown Abbey's success is a pleasant surprise to the producers and actors, but should one really be surprised? When the right elements come together, success must follow. Downtown Abbey has all the ingredients to make it a popular show.

The main reason for Downtown Abbey's success is, of course, the actors. They are experienced, controlled and possess enormous skill. Watching them, you feel as if you are watching actual events. For example, when Branson the chauffer tells Lady Mary Crawley that her sister Lady Sybil was hurt in a riot, Lady Mary's shock and concern are played just right. There is just enough emotion, but also the restraint that was expected of women in Lady Mary's class at the time. Other characters are also memorable. Lord Grantham behaves like the gentleman he is expected to be and the Dowager Countess can be sharp at times. The actors are as convincing as they come.

For those who need more than just a well-told story, the costumes and scenery provide as much entertainment as the plot. The clothing is gorgeous - historically accurate and elegant. Lady Mary looks like a princess and Lady Edith Crawley's figure and costume are flawless. The English countryside is breathtaking. The exterior and most of the interior shots are of Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Highclere's library is peaceful and befits a gentleman - a perfect refuge for Lord Crawley. The homes and gardens in the village are quaint. Everything is a treat for the eyes, from start to finish.

Many films can boast great lines, beautiful actors and marvelous clothes. However, not many compel millions of viewers to gather each week to watch them. The true secret behind Downtown Abbey's success is that it sells a lifestyle, an experience, that is out of reach and yet is fascinating to people everywhere. The Crawleys live an upstairs-downstairs way of life. The staff, who live in the basement, serve the aristocratic family who inhabit the home. The Crawley family members have their share of problems and heartache. Yet they suffer in the midst of luxury and privilege. These things share universal appeal to people around the world, regardless of nationality, financial background or social status. Many people want to be rich, elegant and respected. Downtown Abbey provides a glimpse into a fantasy world where people enjoy such advantages.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

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