Julian Fellowes' fancy-rose-shaped-soap opera Downton Abbey has already revealed the frustrated romances and stifled class wars lurking just beneath the starched surface of the early 20th century, but did you know that time existed prior to that, and that it also had people who loved and deceived each other while pausing to open letters full of dismaying news? It's true, and Fellowes is considering exploring it with a Downton Abbey prequel set during the "time when the Buccaneers were coming to England," and Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess was a salty sea merchant in the Caribbean, fending off those ruthless buccaneers with the sharp edge of her scimitar and even sharper tongue.
Or, more accurately and less interestingly, Fellowes means the Edith Warton sort of Buccaneers, delving into the courtship of the future Lord and Lady Grantham when American girls swarmed England looking for aristocrats to marry, and Robert took Cora for his wife because of her money, before finally falling in love with her a year later. Downton is still airing its third season in the UK (while Americans who watch it legally get it in January), so the prequel is still in the planning stages, meaning it's not too late to change it to the Maggie Smith pirate thing.
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