Presumably the Crawley family is Church of England, but the only time you’ll see anything remotely religious on “Downton Abbey” is during a wedding.
…the man tasked with ensuring the historical accuracy of the series has revealed why Downton does not do God. Alastair Bruce, who serves as the show’s historical advisor, said that executives in charge of the series had ordered producers to “leave religion out of it”, for fear of alienating an increasingly atheistic public.
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the Crawley family is never shown in the process of sitting down to dinner, with the action instead shown from part-way through the meal. This, Mr Bruce said, was to avoid having to show the characters saying grace.
He added: “In essence you hardly ever see a table that isn’t already sat at. We never see the beginning of a luncheon or a dinner, because no one was ever allowed to see a grace being said, and I would never allow them to sit down without having said grace.
“I think that the view was that we’d leave religion out of it, and it would’ve taken extra time too. I suggested a Latin grace, but they decided that was too far, and no one would’ve known what was going on.”
The absence has not gone entirely unnoticed.
The lack of religious references in Downton has been a topic of debate in America, where the series is wildly popular and airs on the PBS channel. The flagship American evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, has noted: “God is a peripheral presence at best.”