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Julian Fellowes: Modern life could learn something about manners from Downton

Julian Fellowes (Ian West/PA)
Julian Fellowes (Ian West/PA)

Julian Fellowes has said modern life is lacking in civility and people should take a tip from the manners shown in Downton Abbey.

The British screenwriter, who created the hit ITV series about life above and below stairs in the stately home, and has also written the upcoming movie, added he does not believe life was easier in the 1920s, when the film is set, but thinks there are lessons to be learned from that time about courtesy.

Arriving at the world premiere of the film, he said he hopes it offers audiences “two hours off” from stressful modern times, adding: “Two hours to lie back, watch the movie, have a good evening.”

Asked if the film depicts simpler times, he said: “It was a complicated era, a positive one in many ways.

“The role of women and organised labour and all of these things were changing, as well as non-political things, travel, entertainment, the coming of the movie, a lot was going on, but I think they were more well-mannered than we are, as a civilisation, and that I think we do slightly envy.

“People are so rude to each other now and I wish we weren’t. I don’t mean etiquette, just fundamental consideration, which I wish we had a little more of.”

Downton Abbey World Premiere – London
Julian Fellowes and his wife Emma Joy Kitchener at the premiere (Ian West/PA)

Lord Fellowes also said he was amazed to be on the red carpet at the film’s premiere, after long believing the movie would never happen.

He said: “You have been watching people on red carpets all your life and suddenly you’re the guy on the carpet and there is something rather curious and surreal about that, I’m thrilled and I hope people enjoy the film.

“Nothing is a sure thing, so I hope we have produced an un-disappointing movie.”

Downton Abbey is released in UK cinemas on September 13.

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