Another Riveting Historical Series — Review Of Julian Fellowes' Belgravia (2020)


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Historical dramas and I are inseparable. That's how I found Julian Fellowes’ and his impressive works, particularly the popular British drama, Downton Abbey series and films. After these, I came across The Gilded Age, another captivating series created by this brilliant screenwriter and going into its third season. Recently, I was browsing through Fellowes' works and found this treasure, Belgravia (2020). I don't know how I missed it but it's not too late, especially as the sequel was recently released.

A series of six episodes begins at the time of the Napoleon War. A middle-class family—the Trenchards—get an invitation to the Duchess of Richmond's famous ball, a gathering meant for only the aristocrats. Mrs Anne Trenchard is embarrassed by how they get the invitation but her daughter, Sophia, enamoured with the duchess' nephew, Viscount Edmund, is excited to be at the ball.

Anne sees the relationship between Edmund and Sophia and tries to get her daughter to behave properly so as not to damage her reputation. Then an urgent message arrives and all the men in uniform are informed to leave for the battlefront. Sophia is in tears as Edmund climbs his horses with fellow soldiers and leaves.

James Trenchard returns from the war later to inform his wife and daughter that some of their friends did not survive, including Edmund. Sophia is distraught.

Fast forward twenty-six years later, Anne Trenchard attends an afternoon tea where she meets the Countess of Brockenhurst who asks after Sophia. Anne solemnly reveals her daughter passed away a few months after the war. Then the past begins to unravel, revealing a decision made twenty-six years ago that comes back to haunt the Trenchard and Brockenhurst families. What is this secret?

Based on Fellowes’ bestselling book of the same name, this historical series wasn't immediately captivating at the beginning perhaps because I was inundated with too many faces, names and titles. Typically in British historical dramas, their names and titles are usually too long and quite a mouthful. I struggled to keep up with the characters but this changed once an unexpected twist was revealed towards the end of the first episode.





The plot of this series is fascinating—a twenty-six year old secret coming to light and upending many lives and everything bores down to inheriting a title and its estate. Every episode is suspenseful and engaging, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the finale. Simply impressive.

The cast's performance is superb. Some of them brought out the irk in me while others were simply insufferable. I particularly liked Anne Trenchard played by Tamsin Greig, the handsome Charles Pope played by Jack Bardoe and the brave Lady Maria Grey played by Ella Purnell. I rooted for them.

Fellowes did an excellent job showcasing the true character and behaviour exhibited by fortune hunters and opportunists in that era and the lengths they would go to ingratiate themselves with the aristocrats. At the heart of this drama are deceit, lies, desperation and manipulation. The character I do not like is John Bellasis played by Adam James. His weird grin and scoff almost pissed me off as I watched!

The only area I would fault this series is that there's no humour and/or witty scenes as displayed in Downton Abbey and The Gilded Age. Every scene is riveting but serious, there's no room for a little joke here or there.

Overall, Belgravia is a fine and compelling historical series that anglophiles will enjoy but in my opinion, it can't hold a candle to Downton Abbey. I'll say Downton Abbey is Julian Fellowes’ best work to date, followed by The Gilded Age. I'll give this series 3 stars out of 5.

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Thumbnail Image, Fair Use
Other images are screenshots from the series

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I didn't know Julian Fellowes had released another series. Just added it to my watchlist and I am yet ti watch the gilded Age. It seems like this series will be full of drama haha I don't know but I sense it from some the characters you talked about. My cards are on John Bellasis since he pissed you off😂. Thank you for sharing this review.


Oh yes, it's another Julian Fellowes' work! I was on a search for a historical drama and found it. It's similar to Downton Abbey is style and plot structure but a little different. But it's a fine series. That John Bellasis eh? He's an impossible antagonist. Hehe. Thanks so much for your visit and support. !PIMP 💕