Sunday, 25 September 2011

Downton Abbey, Sex and Spanking in films and TV

The return of Downton Abbey to our televisions and its complete absence of gratuitous nudity or sex, let alone any of the young maid servants getting their bottoms spanked, makes me think just how much film and television has evolved in the last century. If what you want is story lines that end with near naked girls tethered to bed heads and awaiting their fate, you would have had a better chance some forty odd years ago. Let me explain.

If we leave aside cinema’s flickering beginnings and move on past the small interference of two world wars we find it making a fresh start in the nineteen fifties. As I have mentioned several times in the past (see some of my earlier postings) the nineteen fifties was a time of massive Puritanism where nice girls didn’t do it and men therefore wanted it probably more than they ever have before or since. (I‘m only guessing that last bit, but it’s a reasonable assumption. Nothing like denial to stimulate the appetite.) As showing either sex or nudity on the screen was out of the question, film makers hit on a sneaky way to titillate its audience by finding endless excuse for young heroines to be taken across the knee and spanked by authority figures or boyfriends.

Perfect! Their excuse was that they were only showing normal discipline as regularly practiced in those days, but it still managed to set off a warm moist glow in the insides of its female viewers, even though they didn’t understand why, and it gave the men great steaming hard-ons they had to find ways to deal with when they were alone in their drafty bed sits.

OK, film makers couldn’t go as far as giving us full on knickers down bare bottom punishments, but they could be hinted at, and what images went swirling through the sex starved minds of the audience wasn’t their responsibility.

Moving on to modern times, we are all grown up now and both film makers and censorship have moved on. We are all rather blasé about sex and nudity, so if it is necessary to the plot, there it is on the screen, people having sex just as in real life, and just as in real life its not always as titillating or exciting as we would like it to be.

But somewhere in the middle, around the end of the sixties and well into the seventies was the moment when the change was happening. Film censors gave up the uneven struggle against our hunger for sexual stimulation, and suddenly things could be shown on the screen we hadn’t been allowed to see before. Opportunistic film makers couldn’t believe their luck, and as a result we were flooded with a raft of films, badly made and as cheesy at it gets full of all the naughty bits as they could cram in. OK, hardly a willy in sight, let alone a nice stiffy, but all the tits and bums you could ask for. In Britain it seemed we still needed an excuse to enjoy sex so it had to be hidden under a fig leaf of humor, and the screen became a sea of nubile young girls being chased round bedrooms, squealing and shrieking and accidentally dropping all their clothes as they ran.

Absolute rubbish, but why can’t we have more films like that now? I may be something of a culture vulture, heavily into art and opera, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get enjoyment from the sort of naughty romp where you know that at not less than fifteen minute intervals one of the girls is going to tied up and stripped by a good looking rake, even if what he then does to her will almost certainly fall short of what my over excited imagination was hoping for.

And though I’m not quite there yet, this almost brings me to back to Downton Abbey. I can’t put a date to it, but there was a series on TV way back called Upstairs Downstairs, very much in the Downton mould, an Edwardian household seen from the point of view of both the masters and the servants. As you would have expected, absolutely and totally bonk free, but around the same time a so called sex film was made that was loosely based on it called Keep It Up Downstairs. I’ve not seen it other than one brief scene where one of the maids is spanked by the butler. I have to say that this sounds way more exciting than it actually is, and have to add that if the rest of the sex is as uninspiring as this scene then it’s not worth seeing. (If any of you who have seen the whole film would like to post a comment I would be pleased to hear from you.)

And where is all this leading? Back to Downton Abbey, but not quite. The Edwardian household simply has to be a perfect place to set an erotic film in the nineteen seventies mould but with a few less laughs and a lot more sex. With everybody living under one roof and an unbreakable hierarchical system in place it means that at any one time someone has absolute authority to do just about what they want to someone else. Add to that the fact that in those days it was common for servant girls to have to share a bed with each other and the mind teems with possibilities!

So what shall we have? A new young downstairs maid, pretty and skittish and getting spanked by everyone from the Lord of the Manor to the housekeeper.

The feckless eldest son never losing an opportunity to take pleasure in any of the servant girls who happen to be around,

and of course at least a couple of the maids finding solace in each others kissable mouths and desirable bodies at every opportunity.

Need I go on? Oh I see, you want more! How about the eldest daughter forming a liaison with the new naughty maid who finds a repository for her frustrated affection between her suspendered thighs.

Her Ladyship taking a strict line with her youngest daughter who she suspects is secretly having sex with the chauffeur,

The randy butler always finding excuses to take down any of the girl’s knickers and smack their pretty bottoms,

And all sorts of kinky going on with the maids when the candles are blown out and the rest of the household are asleep.

At this point I’m going to call a halt. With my all too fertile imagination I can visualize a whole lot more scenes and tableaus but I’m going to leave it to you now. I’m sure you are not short of your own ideas!


  1. Actually Liz, in the original series of Upstairs Downstairs there was a spanking scene, it was as a I recall very comedic, a spanking I believe with a rolled up newspapers by the son of the house to his girlfriend.

  2. To his pretty sister.

  3. In reality, I think the servants were too tired to be up making mischief at night.

  4. Hi, Jenny. Welcome.

    I am not too sure about that. I can imagine them getting into all kinds of mischief after the Lord/Lady has gone to bed. Specially since they may be in a different wing of the house and not worried about noise , and perhaps more so if they have needed some discipline earlier ;)