Sunday, February 6, 2011

If You Liked Downton Abbey...

If you find yourself wanting more Edwardian fare since Downton Abbey concluded last Sunday (2nd season is still to come), then you might try out the PBS reality series Manor House.  I know I've mentioned these PBS House series before, but really can't begin to say how much I enjoy them!  While they are not scripted dramas, but rather follow a group of modern day folks who agree to live the culture of the day, they are extremely engaging and full of historical information.

In Manor House we follow the people who play staff and aristocrats at Manderston, a grand Edwardian house located near the Scottish-English border.  While the "downstairs" help slave away seven days a week for upwards of 16 to 18 hours a day, their "upstairs" nouveau-rich aristocratic family learn to deal with the subtleties of standings and titles (not to mention doing absolutely nothing, including putting on their own socks and underwear).

The docu-drama series is highly entertaining and engaging.  There are maids who think they see ghosts, a rotating door of scullery maids who quit after a couple of days, footmen who get drunk and can't wake for work the next morning, a crazy-mad French chef who insists on authenticity, and a little bit of fancy loving going on behind the scenes.  Honestly, this is a highly entertaining series and a great follow-up to Downton Abbey if you are feeling a bit down now that its over!

If you think you might enjoy Manor House, you might check out the following PBS series that are also set in England:

Regency House Party (which also appeared on PBS) for an interesting romp into Regency romance.

The 1900s House for its look at the average urban lifestyle at the turn of the century in London during the Victorian Era.

The 1940s House set in London around the time of WWII with its food rations, bomb raids, and blackout curtains.

Check them out!  They are fantastic and do a great job of mixing the drama of reality television with the history of a great period drama or documentary.   (There are also three set in the United States, if you are interested:  Frontier House, Texas Ranch House, and Colonial House.)


  1. I remember seeing one episode of one of these (I have a feeling it was the 1900 one, but I'm not sure) and remember that I it was interesting. Thanks for pointing them out again.

  2. Thanks for giving this recommendation! I will definitely check out Manor House; hopefully it will tide me over until my copy of Downton Abbey arrives in the mail!

  3. My sisters loved Manor House! I never really got into it though. Thanks for the recs-I really have to watch Downtown Abbey. :)

  4. I totally missed Manor House. How did that happen?!? But I have seen Regency House Party and it was AMAZING. I love that one of the poor relations ran off with the hermit. Hahaha! So awesome. 1900s House was interesting, too, although it stressed me out.

    Did you watch Frontier House? That was a really good series, too.

  5. Hello! I discovered your blog a few months ago and have been checking in ever since, but this is my first time commenting. Thank you so much for posting this!! I saw one episode of "1900 House" years ago and have not been able to place it since! I will now find it on Netflix (hopefully), and check out the other series as well. I love your blog! Your recommendations have led me to several books/tv shows/movies that I've really enjoyed :)

  6. Irisonbooks--Yea, they are really good. I wonder if you can get these? They are well worth your time if you like considering what it was like living in those time periods!

    Read the Book--Yay! It's definitely a fun series to watch and would be perfect while you're waiting! :)

    A Buckeye Girl--I'm kind of a "reality" tv sort of gal, so combining that element with a period piece was perfect! Maybe you have to like reality television?

    Heidenkind--Yes! I've seen all of them and love, love, love these "House" series. I wish they would do some more. :( I actually show a few clips from Regency House Party to my AP class, to discuss manners and etiquette. Didn't the Biology teacher creep you out a little? For some reason, I thought he might be playing that lady?

    Bluemoonmagnolia--Thanks for commenting! I'm so glad you did. :)

  7. I enjoyed 1900 House, but I didn't know about the others! Will have to look them up...