IN 2010 I began a new relationship, pouring my time into watching all six seasons and every Christmas special of beloved British television series Downton Abbey.
I was immersed in every birth, marriage, scandal and unfortunate death on the Yorkshire country estate, home to the fictional aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.
It was the post-Edwardian era and times were changing.
It was sad to say goodbye to them all when the sixth and final season wrapped the Downton Abbey story up in 2015; we had been through so much (1912 to New Year’s Day 1926, to be exact).
However, Downton Abbey fan power is strong and rumours of a full-length film became too much for writer Julian Fellowes and the rest of the creative team to resist, drawing them back into the English countryside.
Would it live up to expectations? Would there be anything worth going back for?
Would matriarch Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, continue to deliver her witty one-liners as only Dame Maggie Smith could?
The answer is absolutely and like Violet quips in the movie, “I am an expert in every matter”.
Picking up in 1927, Downton Abbey has a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary as the central narrative, with all the commotion, pomp and circumstance that goes with it.
As the servants challenge the way a royal visit is conducted to defend Downton’s honour, the upper class has its own set of problems to contend with.
Filmed at the grandly gothic Highclere Castle, the sweeping estate is a welcome sight, especially when it is paired with that familiar Downton Abbey theme music.
And with every character having such a defined back story thanks to the series, two hours in the cinema feels like catching up with an old friend.
Hopefully there will be another reunion.
Downton Abbey (PG)
Directed by: Michael Engler
Starring: Hugh Boneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery,
Laura Carmichael, Robert James-Collier, Jim Carter
Reviewed by: Tanya MacNaughton
In cinemas September 12