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‘Missing Downton Abbey’ brings together fans to reminisce at Tinley Park library

When the PBS British drama series “Downton Abbey” ended its six-year-run in late 2015, locals will tell you they mourned the loss.

But the fourth installment of the “Missing Downton Abbey” program—which was held Jan. 8 at Tinley Park Public Library—was well received by area fans.

“Here, at the library as a programmer, I like to know what’s current, what’s trending. ‘Downton Abbey’ became extremely popular,” adult program coordinator Sue Bailey said. “I was a huge fan, myself, [and I] noticed we had lots of patrons interested… [When the show was airing] Downton Abbey parties started cropping up. We thought it would be fun to host a Downton Abbey party get together [with] likeminded folks who want talk about ‘Downton Abbey,’ talk about the characters.”

On Jan. 8, the library hosted its fourth “Missing Downton Abbey” party, and it allowed area fans to come together to reminisce and relive the series they love. Jeffrey Nigro, a lecturer from the Art Institute of Chicago, served as the program’s guest speaker.

Nigro said the PBS series’ popularity rings true for many.

“I think ‘Downton Abbey’ shows a kind of changing world—women taking more active roles in society, class differences,” Nigro explored. “You don’t have to go into domestic service, there are other jobs you could have. So, it’s fascinating as Americans. I think we enjoy the ‘you go, girl’ aspect of it, as well as the period detail. It’s a nice combination of nostalgia and modernity.”

And it is apparent to Nigro that people take interest in programs like “Missing Downton Abbey” because “there’s clearly a hunger for this kind of thing for learning something, meeting people who share your interests, talking things over, getting interested in history, literature, art.”

Beverly Avery, of Orland Park, was one of about 60 people in attendance for the Sunday mid-afternoon event.

“Not only did I love the story that was intertwined in this [series], but it was the history,” Avery said. “I saw it go before me. I loved everything about it—the history and how culture changed. It was the culture change that you saw right before your eyes in ‘Downton Abbey’ that we all witnessed as we were going through life, but didn’t realize we were changing.”

Avery said knowing that the series had finally come to an end was tough at first.

“There was withdrawal, but the thing is I realize life has to go on and it does,” she added. “There’ll be something else that’ll come up that I’ll love.”

Jan Corbett, also of Orland Park, said she is glad she dropped in for the program.

“I’ve watched every show multiple times, I’ve read many books about it,” she said. “I’m a retired history teacher; therefore I love history. The fashions, the characters, it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful gift that was given to us by the British.”

Corbett said she, too, is still finding ways to relive the series.

“You can watch all of [the old episodes] for free,” she said. “So, [I’ll have to] come to the library, continue to read the books.”

Bailey said she hopes that those that came to “Missing Downton Abbey” enjoyed their time to experience the phenomena all over again.

“There’s rumors—been rumors for a while—that they’re going to make a movie using the same storyline,” she added. “From what I understand, all the actors are on board if they were to do a movie. If they do a movie, we will definitely have a program because the loyal folks will be back in mass.”