Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Grand Sophy Film: Latest News March 2016

I recently had a tantalizing comment on my last post about The Grand Sophy film on this blog which went like this:

Financing is being pulled together now. Film will shoot in either May or September 2016 with Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in supporting roles.

It was anonymous and so could not be directly followed up. However I took the liberty of contacting Jennifer Kloester, the author of Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller to see if she knew anything about this. She is a wonderfully knowledgeable source and she was recently speaking at the unveiling of the blue plaque on the Wimbledon birthplace of Georgette Heyer, with Stephen Fry!

Photo by Elizabeth Hawksley from
Jennifer Kloester speaking at the blue plaque ceremony

Jennifer was able to contact the agent for the Heyer estate who said:

 "They've got a great young actress called Jessie Buckley for Sophy, and Rob Ashford as director, and they're working on yet another draft of the script, but no production date has been set. The producers are talking about trying to attract A-listers for subsidiary roles, but no names have been mentioned."

Jessie Buckley as Princess Marya from War and Peace

Jessie Buckley seems a good choice for Sophie as she got rave reviews for her performance in the recent BBC version of War and Peace by Andrew Davies (Viv Groskop of The Guardian called her a marvel). I haven't seen War and Peace yet but have been advised to track down the UK version as the American version was ruthlessly edited (thanks Janeheiress).

Jessie Buckley- much prettier when not playing a pious Russian Princess!

A bit more unusual is the choice of Rob Ashford as director. He is originally a Broadway stage choreographer and now director but he has been working closely with Kenneth Branagh lately both directing in the West End and also doing choreography for the film Cinderella. I wonder if Ashford could talk Ken B into a cameo role. I would also be surprised if Stephen Fry wasn't interested in being a part of this project. Although if Colin Firth is truly involved, we may run out of older male parts (unless they leave in the horrid moneylender scene!).

If Helena Bonham Carter IS involved, I wonder if she would she make a better Marquesa or Lady Ombersley? Or how about Emma Thompson for one of those fun supporting ladies? Oh, here I am trying to help with the casting but it is really fun to imagine oneself as a casting director.

I would imagine Stephen Fry to be a wonderful Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy wouldn't you?

Now maybe I will have to try to contact the scriptwriter Olivia Hetreed to see how the project is progressing. Perhaps we should start a Twitter campaign to show the BBC et al that there is an eager audience waiting patiently for this to happen. And of course, if any of you haven't yet signed the petition for a Georgette Heyer film the link is here:

Comments below are very welcome!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Downton Abbey Season 6 FINAL EPISODE Best Lines

I can't believe this is the end! There is some talk of a Downton film in the future and there were also rumors of Julian Fellowes penning a prequel to Downton Abbey. A story of young Cora as a "Buccaneer"- a debutante from America with money wishing to marry into the English aristocracy. Now THAT would be worth watching!

Well, after finishing the brilliant final episode and wiping away a few tears (from the last few episodes actually) here are some of the best lines. Feel free to comment below and add any fave lines I might have missed.

Lord Grantham: You'd be happy to live alone?
Lady Edith:  I'll have Marigold. Anyway, I'm a spinster, aren't I? And spinsters live alone.

Isobel: I know (Dickie) went with them to London but I haven't heard a squeak since.
Lady Violet: Well, that settles it. You must beard him in his den.
Isobel: Won't that encourage him?
Lady Violet: Your feelings do you credit, my dear, but never let tenderness be a bar to a bit of snooping!

Thomas: That's enough love talk, Andy.

Daisy: Love talk?!
Mrs. Patmore: He's nice. You could do worse.
Daisy: I could do a lot better, an' all.

Lady Edith: Your tips on how to keep your husband happy have gone down particularly well. And you wrote so well about dressing for town and country in autumn. Could we have a little more of that?
Spratt: Oh, I'm full of ideas when it comes to combining comfort and elegance m'lady.

Henry Talbot: Hang on, Spratt is your agony aunt?
Lady Edith: You must promise to keep it secret.
Henry Talbot: (chuckling) Won't your grandmother be furious?
Lady Edith: If she finds out.

Bertie Pelham: I want you back.
Lady Edith: Nothing's changed.
Bertie: I've changed.
Lady Edith: Well if  you have, you haven't said a word to me about it.
Bertie: Would you believe me if I said I can't live without you?
Lady Edith: You've done a pretty good job of living without me lately.
Bertie: I've done a very bad job.

Bertie: I want you to marry me.
Lady Edith: There could be gossip. Are you ready for it?
Bertie: Well, I hope to avoid it, but I'm ready if we can't. The only thing I'm not ready for is a life without you.

Lady Violet: Why wouldn't you (burst into tears on hearing that Lord Merton has pernicious anemia), when you're in love with him?
Isobel: Am I? That phrase conjures up for me dance cards and stolen kisses and mama waiting below in the carriage. Not two old fuddy-duddies who can barely manage the stairs.
Lady Violet: It's good to be in love, whatever age.
Isobel: After Prince Kuragin, did you ever fall in love again?
Lady Violet: You must know by now I never answer any question more incriminating than whether or not I need a rug.

Mrs. Patmore: Do you know your problem?
Daisy: I bet I soon will.
Mrs. Patmore: You despise anyone who thinks well of you. You were soft on Alfred, mad for him when he only had eyes for Ivy. But when he made a play for you, you'd have nothing to do with him.
Daisy: That's different.
Mrs. Patmore: How?

This season, the best advice is dispensed by Mrs. Patmore, Spratt and the Dowager Countess Violet! And Tom Branson of course.

Lord Grantham: It reminds me of when she ran the house as a convalescent home during the war.

Lady Rose: You have a wonderful marriage, and with my parents, I should know. Don't spoil it now by asking her to choose. Please.

Tom: We'll set up a dealership for new cars and in time, we'll go into production. There's nothing wrong with being married to Mr. Rolls or Mr. Royce.

Henry: A new baby, a new business. I suppose I must have been as happy as this but I can't imagine when.
Lady Mary: Honestly! Shhh! And remind me never to tell you a secret again.

Lady Rosamund: We didn't always think there would be a happy ending for Edith.
Lady Violet: Well, there's a lot at risk, but with any luck, they'll be happy enough. Which is the English version of a happy ending.
Lady Rosamund:  What do you think makes the English the way we are?
Lady Violet:  I don't know. Opinions differ. Some say our history, but I blame the weather.

Bertie Pelham, Marquess of Hexham: What a wonderful life we're going to have!

Lady Violet:  Makes me smile the way every year we drink to the future, whatever it may bring.
Isobel:  Well, what else can we drink to? We're going forward to the future not back into the past.
Lady Violet:  If only we had the choice!

On that note, a final Cheers! and good night to all.

Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 8 Best Lines

Lady Edith: I'd accept him in a trice if it weren't for Marigold. If I stay silent, there's a lie at the heart of my marriage. But if I tell him the truth, will I ruin it?

Lady Cora: Make a clean breast of it. Please. You'll regret it if you don't.
Lady Edith: With my luck, I'll regret it either way.


Bertie Pelham: The 7th Marquess of Hexham weds the daughter of the 5th Earl of Grantham? What could be more suitable?

Bertie Pelmam: Won't you send me to bed happy?
Lady Edith: Sounds like an indecent proposal!

Mrs. Patmore (and everyone else at Downton Abbey): A house of ill repute????

Fits of giggles both upstairs and downstairs served as some welcome levity to this wonderful episode.

Anna: No, and I'm not laughing but...
Bates: But you're laughing.

Carson: And what makes you think you'll be any good (at teaching)?
Mr. Molesley: I don't know exactly. Perhaps because I want it so much.
Carson: There are plenty of little boys who want to be famous cricketers. It's not enough to make them champions.
Mr. Molesley: I just want to try, Mr. Carson.
Carson: And so you shall.


Ever the ray of sunshine, our Mr. Carson!

Lord Grantham (about Lady Violet): Mama is swanning around the south of France without a word to any of us.

Lady Mary: But that's absurd! If Bertie's a Marquess, then Edith...
Lord Grantham: Edith would outrank us all! Yes, that's right.

Lord Grantham: Golly gumdrops! What a turn-up.


Lord Grantham: A genuine, copper-bottomed marquess for Edith. Who'd have thought it? If anyone had told me Mary would hitch up with a mechanic and Edith would marry one of the grandest men in England, I'd have knocked them down.
Lady Cora: Mary has got rid of her mechanic and Edith is not yet married.
Lord Grantham: I know. But for poor old Edith who couldn't make her dolls do what she wanted, it is rather wonderful.

Tom: We'll all bow and curtsy to Edith. You'll enjoy that Mary.
Lady Mary: Hardly! And if Bertie IS Lord Hexham, which I still don't believe, he won't want to marry her now.
Lady Cora: Careful. People will think you're jealous dear. We don't want that.

Anna: She loves him but she can't control him. That's what frightens her. He's stronger than she is, really.
Mr. Bates: She's a bit of a bully, your Lady Mary. She likes her own way.


Tom: You're a coward Mary. Like all bullies, you're a coward.

Lady Mary: I admire you, Bertie. Not everyone would accept Edith's past.

Lady Edith: The truth is, my life was about to be perfectly wonderful and now I've thrown it all away.


Lady Edith: I know you! I know you to be a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch!
Lady Mary: Now listen, you pathetic-
Lady Edith: You're a bitch!

Lady Edith: You're wrong as you so often are. Henry's perfect for you. You're just too stupid and stuck up to see it! Still, at least he got away from you. Which is something to give thanks for, I suppose!


Oh, how I loved this episode. You ARE a nasty, jealous, scheming bitch Lady Mary. And yet you always seem to land on your feet and get what you want. Fingers crossed for Edith in the final episode.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 7 Best Lines

Daisy: Oh, my God!
Mrs. Hughes: I will thank you not to take the Lord's name in vain.
Daisy: I hope it's not in vain. I need all the help I can get!

By the way, I love the way Carson really got it from the women in this episode. He has been such a jerk since he married his beloved Elsie!

Mrs. Patmore (to Daisy): Love isn't finite. If Mr. Mason makes new friends, it doesn't mean he has any less love for found the love of a father there and you can count on him.

Mr. Dawes (to Mr. Molesley): There are Oxford and Cambridge graduates who know far less than you do. You should be proud!

Violet: Do you enjoy weddings?
Isobel: Yes but I'm not going to that one. I'd feel like the wicked fairy at the christening of Sleeping Beauty!

Violet: While angry, I say things some people find hard to forgive. So I have decided to go away.  I'd rather vent my rage on the desert air...and return when I have gained control of my tongue.
Isobel: Your self-knowledge is an example to us all.

Violet: I'll call on Mrs. Cruikshank before I leave.
Isobel: I suspect she's quite a tough nut.
Violet: And I'm quite a tough nutcracker!

Violet: My reason for traveling is to make myself eager to come home. A month among the French should manage it!

Tom to Mary (on a matter of the heart): You will be hurt again and so will I because being hurt is part of being alive. But that is no reason to give up on the man who is right for you.

Mary (to Henry Talbot): I want you to have a long and happy life. Just not with me.

Lord Grantham: It was a bloody awful business. A bloody, bloody awful business.
Rosamund: The English language never lets you down.
Lord Grantham: Oh, shut up!

Bertie Pelham: If love is allowed to weigh in the balance, I've got plenty of that!

Sorry for the late posting on this wonderful Downton episode. Life got in the way.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 6 Best Lines

Lady Violet: Roll up! Roll up! Visit an actual dining room complete with a real life table and chairs!

Daisy: You don't want to encourage (Mrs. Patmore). She's too curious for her own good.
Mr. Mason: Just give her the note.


As a reader of The Guardian asked "What is up with Daisy trying to nookie block Mrs. Patmore?" Nookie block! Good one!

Isobel: People have always tipped the butler to look 'round a house. Even Elizabeth Bennett wanted to see what Pemberley was like inside.
Lady Violet: A decision which caused her a great deal of embarrassment if I remember the novel correctly!

Lady Cora: It was the monk's refectory of an Abbey that King Henry sold after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Visitor: Is that why it's call Downton Abbey?
Lady Cora: ...I guess so!

Visitor: Tell us about these people.
Lady Edith: Well they were all rather marvelous and..sort that life.

Visitor: What about the architect?
Lady Edith: Sir Charles Barry? Yes, he built the houses of parliament. Or at least he finished them. And, you know, he built lots of...lovely buildings.

Henry Talbot: You're the boss!

Tom Branson: He's nice, he's mad about you and he loves cars. I rest my case!

Mr. Carson: What's to stop them slipping the odd first edition into their back pockets?

Mr. Carson: The next thing you know there's a guillotine in Trafalgar Square!

Thomas: So my word is still not good enough Mr. Carson after all these years.
Mr. Carson: I only wish it were.

Lord Grantham: Golly Moses! You astound me. And all from the sale of tickets!

Lady Mary: Downton Abbey is where the Crawleys belong. This is weakling talk. Thankfully, George and I are made of sterner stuff. And we are not going anywhere.


Hear, hear Lady Mary. And yet it is Tom Branson who is predicting the future of the English Country House. Not only do you have to open it to the public regularly, you have to rent it out for weddings and the odd period drama as a filming location in order to pay for upkeep and repairs.

Can't wait for next week!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 5 Best Lines

Carson: Are these done enough? This plate is cold...which is a pity. Bubble and squeak as a vegetable with lamb? This knife could do with sharpening. It's been a while since she played with her patty pans.

Good grief Mr. Carson! What has happened to the happiest man alive!

As Mrs. Patmore says: Men and sigh!!!!

Mr. Mason: It does me good to see a friendly woman bustling about the kitchen!

Back off Daisy! I smell another senior romance here. And has anyone else noticed that the lovely Cockney footman has more than a passing interest in Daisy? Another romance amongst the pigs. Mmmmm.

Tom: We were evenly matched Sybil and I. She was strong in her beliefs, so was I. We were a marriage of equals. We were very happy.
Lady Mary: I think we see that now, the family I mean. Not at first you're right, but now.

Good for you Tom! Giving Mary advice on affairs of the heart. Someone should point her in the right direction and you are the only one she trusts I think!

Tom: Long live our own Queen Mary!

Lady Edith: Victorian women growing into modern women.
New Lady Editor: And the price they paid...

Great episode for Lady Edith. She hires a helper, gets a kiss and plans a future away from Downton. Now if only Lady Mary wasn't sniffing around about Marigold. Look out!

Denker to Dr Clarkson: She's been running this village since you've been eating porridge in the glen with your mammy!
Lady Violet: You have read too many novels! You have seen too many moving pictures!

Oh this was a bit of fun to see Dame Maggie Smith wind up to fever pitch about Denker disgracing her. And always fun to see the sparring between Denker and Septimus Spratt!

Lord Grantham: If this is it, just know I have loved you very very much.
Lady Cora: This isn't it. We won't let this be it.

It was hard to find a photo that wasn't too graphic for the burst ulcer scene. If  you would like to see the GIF which plays it over and over, the link is here to Vanity Fair's Downton Gore Page.

Let's hope next week has less blood and more great lines!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Downton Abbey Map of UK Filming Locations
This brilliant map of Downton Abbey filming locations was recently compiled by Apparently Wayfair is a US based online furniture retailer ( who have a UK branch and also ship to Canada. Their websites are gorgeous, much like these locations which the creators of Downton Abbey have used over the past 6 seasons.

I have snooped around the map and have chosen a few of the top locations to highlight for you with drool worthy photos.

Highclere Castle/ Downton Abbey Flickr, Zen Whisk
Highclere Castle or Downton Abbey itself, seen in every episode of "Hound's Bum Abbey" as the lord of the manor Hugh Bonneville affectionately calls it! Owned by George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and his wife Lady Carnarvon (the former Fiona Aitken) who has written a biography of one of her predecessors Almina, Countess of Carnarvon.  If you can't get to Highclere in Berkshire on one of it's open days in July or August, you might be interested in their new Highclere Castle app. Or you might like to peruse the blog of Lady Carnarvon and see what is going on at the real Downton Abbey.

Portal Hall, Burghclere/ Downton Schoolhouse Chris Talbot
Portal Hall in Burghclere, Hampshire is the adorable schoolhouse where the wedding reception for Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes finally took place. It was also the spot where Mr. Molesley inspired us (the viewers) as well as the students with his motivational take on education. I think this was also the spot where the notorious flower show took place in the first season. You remember, when they were afraid NOT to give first prize to the Dowager Countess Violet?

Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames/ "Downton House" from Season 3 John of Reading
I have to put in a good word for Greys Court near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire as I was there last year and it is lovely! You might remember from Season 3 when Lord Grantham had poorly invested his money (OK, Cora's money) and they were considering downsizing to their much smaller estate Downton House. They even had a picnic on the lawn. But retrenching and making do with only 8 servants was just too much to endure! Horrors!
There actually are some lovely picnic areas with fine views and beautiful gardens. And the tour guides talk fondly of Maggie Smith's visit. I want to go back...

Cogges Manor Farm/ Yew Tree Farm Rabbi WP Thinro
Cogges Manor Farm, or as we know it Yew Tree Farm once the home of the Drewe family and Marigold, now Mr. Mason's farm, it is a great place to visit! Take the kids to visit the farm animals (just like George and Marigold!), have tea and scones or book it as a wedding venue. I would love to go. They have a video on their website of the Downton crew dressing the farm house for filming. What a lot of work! If you would like to visit, it is in Oxfordshire, just west of Oxford.

Inveraray Castle/ Duneagle Castle Ian Dick
Inverary Castle was used as Duneagle Castle, the country seat of Lord and Lady Flincher (and cousin Rose of course). Although as you will recall, this Christmas episode did not end well, the location and the highland dancing was a lot of fun. And cousin Susan's exploits were pretty interesting! Good riddance O'Brien! This would be a gorgeous place to visit if you were in the north west of Scotland.

Beamish Museum/ Christmas Finale outdoor location Paul Trafford
The Beamish Museum in County Durham is somewhere I have long wanted to go. Billed as open air museum, there seems to be more to do than you can pack into a day. Train rides, a sweet shop, authentic fish and chips and even coal mining demonstrations are to be found. Someday I will get there. Have any of my readers been? When we in North America finally see the Christmas finale (Sunday March 6 2016) we will get a glimpse of the main street of Beamish dusted with snow. Perfect!

I think I will leave it there. Have fun exploring the map on your own and perhaps planning your next trip to the UK around some of these interesting places to visit. 




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