“If it had been done in the ‘50s, the family would all have been incredibly gracious and charming and the servants would all have been comedic,” he said. “If it had been done in the ‘90s, the servants would all be gallant and downtrodden and the family would all be horrible, mendacious, slimy, and selfish. But we’ve gone a different way, really. They’re just a group of people who are living in this house and working, and some of them are nice and some of them are less nice, some of them are funny and some of them aren’t, and so on. But there is no automatic division between the two groups in the house.”There's something in that. But I would add another theory of my own: We want to remember England as it was, not think about it as it is. Who wouldn't rather follow the adventures of a family who, with all their foibles, usually manage to keep that upper lip stiff and keep soldiering on, than read about societal breakdown leading to rioting, and skyrocketing crime rates in general, in modern-day Britain?