Where Downton Abbey came from

    If you’re one of those millions who became obsessed last year with whether Lady Mary and Matthew would ever wed, or whether poor Mr. Bates would overcome his troubles, or just what lowdown stunt Thomas the footman would pull next, listen to Monday’s Fresh Air.

    Our guest is Julian Fellowes, the Englishman with an actual title who created and wrote the series.

    He’s a delightful fellow, and an insightful observer of class distinctions and their effect on human relationships in the 20th century.

    Fellowes wasn’t rich like the Crawleys, but he was born into a family with aristocratic lineage, and as a teenager he listened to his aunts tell stores of the old days, when butlers and valets and lady’s maids served the peerage.

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    We’ll play and discuss some scenes from the series, and Fellowes will desribe the woman the Maggie Smith character is based on and tell us just how far-fetched an idea it is that an earl’s daughter would marry a chauffeur.

    As a bonus, he’ll talk about writing and working on the set of the Robert Altman film Gosford Park.

    Make some tea and settle in. That’s on Fresh Air, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Monday on WHYY-FM.

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