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The domestic staff who helped make Downton Abbey a sensation

The domestic staff who helped make Downton Abbey a sensation

The domestic staff who helped make Downton Abbey a sensation

Continuing our journey through some of the most memorable depictions of cleaning and cleaners in popular culture here on the Aurora blog, this week we take a look at a British television series that became a cultural phenomenon.

Downton Abbey debuted on ITV in the UK on September 26th 2010. It ran for six seasons, concluding with a two-hour special broadcast on Christmas Day 2015.

During this time, the show grew into one of Britain's most successful ever cultural exports, particularly in the US, where viewers fell in love with the aristocratic Crawley family and their faithful domestic servants.

Rights to broadcast the series were sold to more than 220 countries and territories, attracting a global audience of approximately 120 million people.

So what was it that made it such a sensation? Like many successful television dramas, Downton Abbey captured people's attention largely thanks to its strong characters, and some of the most compelling of all were the various housekeepers, maids, servants and cooks who kept the titular country estate running.

Here are some of the most notable members of the Crawleys' domestic staff who kept viewers glued to their screens:

Mr Carson
The lynchpin of the house, Charles Carson has worked at Downton since he was a young man and serves as the Crawleys' dependable butler throughout the series.

Over the course of the six seasons, we follow Mr Carson's story through various challenges and life events, including health issues and the development of his relationship with Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper.

Mrs Hughes
As head housekeeper, Elsie Hughes ensures that Downton Abbey continues to run smoothly at all times. She chooses to remain in the service of the Crawleys despite receiving a marriage proposal from a man she knew before coming to Downton.

Mrs Hughes is a headstrong character who isn't afraid to speak her mind and form her own opinions, even about her employers.

Anna Bates
Another mainstay throughout all six seasons, Anna Bates is maid to Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham.

She is a kind and compassionate character, being the first to accept Lord Grantham's valet (and her future husband), John Bates, into the household, while others are less welcoming.

Sarah O'Brien
There are many loveable fan favourites in Downton Abbey, but the show would be nothing without its darker, more complicated characters, such as Lady Grantham's personal maid Sarah O'Brien.

Miss O'Brien spends a lot of the series, particularly in the first season, being bitter and resentful towards her fellow domestic servants, although she gradually begins to show a warmer, more conscientious side.

Thomas Barrow
Under-butler at Downton Abbey, Thomas Barrow is another conflicted character who gets himself involved in all sorts of messy situations.

While he could be considered the show's main antagonist, he also shows enough warmth and compassion to keep viewers on side.

Here at Aurora, we're confident that the professional cleaners on our staff can whip your workplace into shape without a hint of drama. We'll leave that to Mr Carson and co.