Downton Abbey edited for American audiences

ITV’s hit Edwardian drama Downton Abbey is being edited for broadcast in America as its feared audiences in the states will not understand some of the storylines.

“We thought there might be too many references to the entail and they have been cut. It is not a concept people in the US are very familiar with. American audiences are used to a different speed when it comes to television drama and you need to get into a story very quickly. We also wanted to get to the point where Matthew Crawley arrives on the scene much faster than in the British version.” – Rebecca Eaton, executive producer for PBS.

The eight-part drama was a huge hit for ITV1 when it was broadcast on the channel in the Autumn with episodes topping 9 million viewers. However, before Downton Abbey is broadcast in America cuts will be made to ensure American audiences can understand the Edwardian drama.

The eight episodes will be cut down to six episodes in order to speed up the plot for American audiences and to ensure the character of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) arrives at the stately home in the first episode rather than in the second as in the British version. The numerous references to the ‘entail’ – one of the shows major plots – will also be removed because its thought American audiences will be clueless as to what an entail is.

Despite the cuts the DVD release of the series in America will be off the ‘British version’ and not the edited, water-down American episodes. A second series of Downton Abbey has already been commissioned by ITV and will begin production shortly.

“He [Matthew Crawley] is a pivotal character and his arrival brings with it drama and conflict. In the British version he doesn’t arrive until episode two. In our version he is there in episode one.” – Rebecca Eaton, executive producer for PBS.

Dame Maggie will be edited for stateside viewers to have speedier episodes.