SUPPORTING GREAT TELEVISION

Censor Sensibilities: Downsizing Downton Abbey

In Tidbits on January 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

You can’t always trust British servants – or British tabloids. (Screen cap)

Is PBS dumbing down Downton Abbey for American audiences?

The pre-World War I era British soap opera – a big hit when it aired in the United Kingdom last fall – chronicles an aristocratic couple’s efforts to marry off their eldest daughter, who is legally prohibited from inheriting the family estate because – gasp! – she isn’t a man.

This week, The Mail on Sunday reported that the show’s producers slashed two hours from the seven-hour production and “simplified” the inheritance plotline because they feared Americans wouldn’t understand it.

But Rebecca Eaton, Downton’s American executive producer, has a message for the British tabloid: “You were wrong.”

Thirty-five minutes were cut from the show to create the four 90-minute installments that PBS is airing this month on its Masterpiece anthology series, Eaton said – adding that no characters, themes or plots were eliminated to accommodate what she called “the allegedly short attention span of Americans.”

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  1. […] I wrote about how producers cut 35 minutes from the seven-hour British saga – but now I wonder if the job was outsourced to the corner […]

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