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Why We Love Period Dramas

  • February 7, 2014
  • By 50 Shades
  • 8 Comments

Downton Abbey35

I freely admit that I am mad about period dramas.  I count down the days until Sunday night to watch the TV series Downton Abbey and when I heard they were making a movie of Anna Karenina I was very excited.  So why are we so attracted to period dramas?

Is it the characters?  The romanticised aristocrats, conniving footmen, noble maids, stoic housekeepers and crusty butlers.  Or is it the costumes?  The bonnets, voluminous skirts, bloomers, corsets, the men in pantyhose and morning coats with ridiculous perms! Maybe it is just we like to live in a fantasy world of when things were all prim and proper and no-one would dare venture a kiss before they were betrothed – let alone have pre-marital sex!

I remember my first experience with a period drama was when I watched the old black and white movie of Wuthering Heights and I became obsessed with the tortured romantic Heathcliffe.  I couldn’t get enough of him – he was my dream man!  Then years later I watched the movie Pride and Prejudice and I fell head over heals in love with the mysterious Mr Darcy!

It took so long for Mr Darcy to get it together with Elizabeth that I thought they were practically going to be past consummating the marriage.  Honestly how long does one have to wait!

MrDarcy

It’s all those longing looks, heaving chests and sighs of frustration by the heroine in the story that makes it so deliciously entrancing.  In today’s terms this would equate to sexual frustration! You just need to take a peek at the movie titled Hysteria to understand how unsatisfied women of bygone  times  were.  For those that haven’t seen it, Hysteria was roughly the story of the invention of ‘the vibrator’.

Your average period drama has your strong willed heroine (girls love this), good looking British hero (Colin Firth, Hugh Dancy and Matthew Macfadyen to name a few), wit, humour, sarcasm, good conversation (life would be pretty dull without it), gross misunderstandings (who hasn’t had a couple of those?) Then after the girl very dramatically rejects the boy because of some small defect in his character, she realises her mistake and by coincidence they meet up and they reveal their true feelings for one another and live happily ever after. Just like a fairytale really!

The other fact about period dramas that appeals to us all are the deftly transfigured town and country settings, which serve to complete the illusion that we are in a different age.  You know, the large sprawling country manors with a hundred bedrooms and acres upon acres of perfectly manicured lawns and gardens.

In some of the recent TV productions such as Downton Abbey (the new Upstairs Downstairs), it portrays the lives of both the aristocrats and the servants.  It is a real eye opener to the differences in the social classes of that era – the ‘haves and the have nots’.  Secretly I think we would all like to have our own ladies maid to attend to our dressing and grooming.  Can you imagine how much easier life would be?  We could look immaculate every single day – no more ‘bad hair days!

Some of the dialogue is so romantic.  Can you imagine a man of today saying to his sweetheart?

I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love … I love … I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” (Mr Darcy to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice).

Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and gooey inside?  I guess we all still aspire to having some romance in our lives and being swept off our feet by some tall dark handsome stranger!

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By 50 Shades, February 7, 2014 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

8 Comments
  • Pinky Poinker
    February 7, 2014

    I love Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre and anything by Jane Austen. I also loved Rome, The Tudors and the White Queen TV series. I love the clothes and hair! I quite fancy the idea of servants as well!

  • kathymarris
    February 7, 2014

    Me too Pinky! Just love a Period Drama. I’m possibly still waiting for Prince Charming to come along and sweep me off my feet! Sigh!!

  • Pinky Poinker
    February 8, 2014

    I thought you wouldn’t mind me putting my link to my beautiful singing to save you trawling the rubbishy posts on my site :) http://www.pinkypoinker.com.au/2013/10/princess-lulu-returns-pinky-sings-song_7.html
    I had a cold at the time so forgive the deepish tone.

    • Kathy
      February 9, 2014

      Ha ha ha! Loved your singing Pinky. I think you should give up teaching and write songs. I have one of those ‘princesses’ as well!

  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365
    February 9, 2014

    Hi Kathy! I think I am the last woman on earth who HASN’T watched any of Downtown Abby! It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good period piece now and then…I just never got started so never got hooked. Now when I hear everyone talking about it I am tempted….but I’d have to start at the very beginning. Maybe this summer when things slow down–ha! As if that ever happens. Still, one of these days I’ll have the whole lot to go through…

  • kathymarris
    February 9, 2014

    I seem to love a good old fashioned romance set in the olden times! Must be all those re-runs of movies I watched as a young girl like ‘Gone With The Wind’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’. I do love ‘Downton Abbey’ but probably wouldn’t slit my wrists if I missed it!

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
    February 9, 2014

    I just love the clothes – they look so beautiful – though I am thankful we no longer have to wear corsets etc!

    • Kathy
      February 10, 2014

      Yes the women back then were very restricted in both dress and behavior – but I do love to fantasize a bit!

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