Downton Abbey in Your Class #1 – Roll Sound!

Welcome to the Labragirl Film Project’s weekly film literacy discussion. Every Monday morning Labragirl provides a resource, activity, or methodological discussion to help incorporate film analysis into your classroom.

Last week we suggested a book to help learn how to read films and other forms of media.

This week we turn to the first of two classroom activities focused on the popular television show, Downton Abbey.

Do your students watch Downton Abbey?

What did they think about this activity? 

Please comment below or discuss with us on 


Downton Abbey in Your Class #1 – Roll Sound!

Classroom Discussion Synopsis:

This week’s Moving Images-Moving Forward discussion examines the score and images of the popular television drama, Downton Abbey.

This particular exercise moves away from film and movies to examine TV images. Although much of what we do here at the Labragirl Film Project is about film and movies, our core belief is that all moving images are important and therefore TV and music videos also fall under our purview.

Grade Level:

High School & College

Educational Goals:

  • Introduce students to film analysis & reading
  • Incorporate film analysis into popular culture discussions
  • Help students understand how our relationship with images is shaped by music
  • Encourage students to navigate critical thinking discussions about moving images

Exercise Philosophy:

The goal behind this exercise is to explore how images – in this particular case the introductory score of Downton Abbey – influence our emotions and relationship to visual images.

Exercise Activity & Process:

Roll Sound!

The article “Why the Downton Abbey Theme Song Makes Us Drool” article discusses why the soundtrack to the opening sequence of Downton Abbey is so compelling.

Discussing the ideas in this article is an opportunity to move past the visual image and listen to the aural component of moving images.

I. Read the article “Why the Downton Abbey Theme Song Makes Us Drool”.

II. Discuss the article.

What do your students think about the ideas in the article?

Do they have any experiences with any theme song/soundtrack/music that relates to this article?

III. As a group, listen to the opening music.  (Note: We discuss a related exercise in our Images Telling Stories post.)

Downton Abbey Introductory Music

What do your students notice about the music?

What do they think about this introduction and their relationship to the music?

IV. Now, watch the intro with both the sound and the images. Pay close attention to how the visual images and the sound work together to shape story, emotion, and the viewer’s relationship to the images.

Introduction to Downton Abbey*

*Sidenote: How cute is the yellow Labragirl butt in the intro?!

Additional Questions:

Can you apply these concepts to other TV shows that you watch?

Did you use any of these discussions or activities in your classroom?

How did it go?

We’d love to hear from you.

Please comment below or discuss with us on .

*Disclaimer: All movie & television clips are suggestions for class use, only. All instructors should screen clips to determine if they are appropriate to use in their classrooms. 


UP NEXT 3/25: Downton Abbey in Your Class #2 – Today in the Past

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Previous Blog Entries

Reading Film

Fictional Projections of History

Think Globally Using Film

Our Relationship with Movies

Moving Past Historical Accuracy

Images Telling Stories

Film Shaping History

Think Film Images


©2013 Labragirl Film Project. All rights reserved.


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