The Untold Truth Of Downton Abbey


For six seasons, the world came together each
week to soak in the opulence and grace that was PBS Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey. The highly decorated show was a massive success
with critics and audiences alike, but even the most ardent Downton fans might not know
the finer details of its making. Here’s the untold truth of Downton Abbey. True homefront Want to pay a visit to the real-life location
featured in the show? You’re in luck. Most of the series was filmed at Highclere
Castle, an estate in Hampshire, England that’s home to a real life family headed by the Earl
and Countess of Carnarvon. The stately mansion has even welcomed Queen
Elizabeth from time to time for — what else? — a game of cricket. While most of the servant quarters scenes
were filmed in a London studio, shots of the estate’s beautiful exterior and lavish interiors
were the real deal. In addition to being open to the public, Highclere
Castle can be rented for weddings and parties. Pricey production Depicting all the glamor of the 1920s British
aristocracy didn’t come cheap. From the period costumes — some of them
original pieces — to the exquisite sets, to the stellar cast of characters, the show
cost a pretty penny to produce. “How much money are we talking about?” “A lot.” The show reportedly cost upwards of $1 million
an episode. “But that’s absurd!” Indeed. American influence Believe it or not, the structure for the Britain-set
show was actually inspired by several American television series, including The West Wing,
NYPD Blue, and E.R. And you probably never imagined those shows
had anything in common, did you? Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes told
The New York Times that he admired those series’ “tremendous energy” and that he followed in
the American tradition of stuffing so many simultaneous narratives into his period piece. Unlike traditional British shows, the multi-narrative
structure of the American TV scene had a heavy influence on the way that Downton played out. Tasty treats While a lot of shows tend to use prop food
items for their scenes, mealtimes were especially important on Downton. In fact, all those lavish dinners were so
exquisite that the food became a character in and of itself on the series. Audiences loved to watch Mrs. Patmore, Daisy,
and their merry band of cooks concoct their scrumptious dishes for the Crawleys and their
guests. And since genuine presentation was key to
the series, the production crew worked tirelessly to make sure that the show’s edibles actually
were as delicious as they looked. Unfortunately for the actors and crew, some
of the dishes, particularly culinary delights like lobster and crab, had a less-than-appealing
stench by the end of a long day on set. “God in heaven.” Eyes off Dame Maggie Smith, who received five Emmy
nominations for her role as Dowager Countess of Grantham, has confessed that she has never
watched an episode of Downton Abbey. The octogenarian actress said she couldn’t
bear to see the show because she would have been obsessed with thoughts of how she could
have improved her performance. Even watching it after the fact, she said,
would be difficult because she’d probably just harp on the things she could’ve done
differently in her performance. “It seems a pity to miss such a good pudding.” Dancing shoes Before Jessica Brown Findlay stole the hearts
of fans as Lady Sybil Grantham, the actress was an accomplished ballet dancer. Her love for dance began when she was three
years old, and she went on to perform with professional ballet circuits until an ankle
injury ended her career as a dancer. Heartbroken, Findlay continued to pursue her
love of performing arts by taking acting classes and began a career as an actress, which is
how she ended up on the show. Of course, that history of movement still
has an impact on her current line of work as well. Findlay told The Telegraph, “I do still have
a dancer’s mentality, which may be to do with the training. It gives you a kind of determination.” Sourcing a scandal One storyline from season one that would come
to haunt Lady Mary through every season afterward was the character’s romantic interlude with
Mr. Pamuk, the Turkish diplomat, which was followed by his death in her bed. It became almost comical as the women of the
house returned his body to his own bed in the middle of the night. The most interesting thing about that storyline
is that the plot was actually inspired by a diary entry written by the great aunt of
one of the show’s creator’s friends, which chronicled a similar story of a diplomat secretly
entering the room of a single lady for a romantic tryst, only to die in the middle of the night
and have to be carried back into his room by the women of the house. Like they say, truth is stranger than fiction. “A young woman of good family who finds
herself in the bed of a man who is not her husband has invariably been seduced.” Unfortunate naming It was a sad day when Isis, the faithful companion
of Lord Grantham, passed away in season five. Interestingly, some fans speculated that the
dog was killed off because of its name, which it unfortunately shared with the extreme terrorist
group. But that rumor was put to rest when Hugh Bonneville,
who portrayed Lord Grantham, set the record straight on that matter, saying, “Anyone who
genuinely believes the series five storyline involving the animal was a reaction to recent
world news is a complete berk.” “That is all I have to say on the subject.” Major miss X-Files alum Gillian Anderson was originally
offered the role of Cora, the Countess of Grantham, but turned it down due to the fact
that she had small children and didn’t want to film on location for long periods at a
time. It wasn’t the only hit show she’d say no to
for the same reason — Anderson also passed on the chance to appear in Game of Thrones. Her loss was certainly Elizabeth McGovern’s
gain. Queenly critique Some members of the royal family, including
the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were huge fans of Downton Abbey. Even Queen Elizabeth confessed to being a
loyal viewer of the show, but there was a catch. Her highness reportedly prided herself on
picking out some of the show’s more subtle mistakes. Despite the fact that Downton Abbey had a
historical consultant to accurately portray the way of life for the 1920s British aristocracy,
Her Majesty noticed certain historical errors, like when a young British officer was pictured
wearing World War II regalia during the First World War era. Talk about a royal mishap. Something tells us the sassy Dowager Countess
may have been her favorite. “I take that as a compliment.” “I must’ve said it wrong.” Thanks for watching! Click The List icon to subscribe to our YouTube
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