Downton Abbey to be simplified for US TV

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 4 January 2011
Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville

Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville

'Downton Abbey' is to be cut down and simplified for US audiences when it airs Stateside next week

'Downton Abbey' is to be simplified for US audiences.

The ITV1 period drama - which focuses on the inner workings of an English aristocratic family battling to protect their inheritance from a distant relative - is to see its airtime cut from eight to six hours when it goes out Stateside next week amid fears it will be too complex for American viewers.

Bosses at US broadcaster PBS were particularly concerned about a legal device called an entail - which is heavily featured in the show and determines how an estate should be divided - as it is not something US audiences are familiar with.

Rebecca Eaton, executive producer for the broadcaster, said: "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."

Meanwhile, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) - who is a middle-class third cousin of Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and unlikely heir to the family's estate - will also arrive earlier than he did in the UK version of 'Downton Abbey' to increase the show's "drama and conflict".

Rebecca added: "We also wanted to get to the point where Matthew Crawley arrives on the scene much faster than in the British version.

"He 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."

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