We know you’re missing Downton Abbey, so we’re looking back at every bit of trivia from our favourite period drama.
“I was constantly thinking in terms of those American structures. I had liked E.R. There was something called Chicago Hope that I liked very much, and Thirtysomething, with all those stories going at once,” series creator Julian Fellowes said in Rebbeca Eaton’s memoir, Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS.
It’s called Highclere Castle and it’s been occupied by the Carnavon family since 1679. You can tour it in the summer for about $30 and it’s also available for weddings and private events.
Others include Eyes Wide Shut, King Ralph, and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
She was approached to play Cora Crawley, who was ultimately portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern.
The quarters at Highclere Castle weren’t in good enough condition to film in, so the kitchen and servant’s bedroom scenes were filmed in a London studio.
She was working as a receptionist when she read for Edith.
She had just been offered the role of Viola in a touring production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and initially thought the role on Downton would be a small one.
“A few days later my agent said, ‘You have an audition for a period drama.’ I thought it was going to be a ‘Yes, milord,’ a half-day’s filming, one line maybe. But it would be good to have on your CV that you’d done telly. And I thought, ‘I’m going to have to turn down this dream Shakespeare for this TV job. What a disaster!’ And it was Downton. So I went and read and realized it was for a lead part. And I don’t know how it happened,” she said.
Cora, Mary, and Edith all had the same bedrooms in real life—it was just redecorated depending on what room it needed to be. And it was redecorated quite often, apparently.
“By the end of the season it’s quite thick with paint and wallpaper,” Donal Woods, production designer, told PBS. “If you’re very smart, you’ll look out the window and it’s always the same view.”
“Until I was 18, ballet was my life I loved it; I even danced at the Royal Opera House with the Kirov,” she explained. “Then I injured my ankle, had three operations on it, and the last one went wrong. I was told I would never dance again.”
In her book, The World of Downton Abbey, Jessica Fellowes revealed just how pricey the show was to produce.
Mary’s son is named after Julian Fellowe’s niece’s baby, George. “His birth is commemorated on Downton,” Fellowes explained to PBS.
“We do stink, as they don’t wash our costumes,” Sophie McShera, who played cook’s assistant Daisy, explained to the Daily Mail. “They have these weird patches, which are sewn into the armpits and which they wash separately.”
The actor, who played butler Mr. Carson, practices magic in his free time.
“Often the food will be on the table and we’re not actually going to eat it,” London-based food stylist Lisa Heathcote said. “If you have fake food, it’s going to look like fake food.”
“It’s frustrating. I always see things that I would like to do differently and think, ‘Oh, why in the name of God did I do that?’” she explained in an interview with 60 Minutes.
The Queen watched the show regularly and liked to watch for historical inaccuracies.
“Stiff collars are a pain the neck, quite literally,” Hugh Bonneville explained in The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era. “But they affect your bearing and make you stand in the right way.”
The actress is also an amazing jazz singer.
The mahogany desk and chair in the Music Room were once Napoleon’s.
“We weren’t thinking in those terms about foreign sales,” Julian Fellowes told the Independent. “The advantage for me of having the American wife was it gave me a central character who was not dyed in the wool of the upper middle class upbringing, so you could have one of the principal characters who didn’t take all that stuff for granted, and questioned it, as Cora did. She was not consciously written for America. The fact that we would have a central character for American sales was much more clever than we were really.”
Stevens is the Editor at Large for The Junket.
Milne is 6’4, so Sharp had to stand on a box to be in frame with him, according to The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era.
It’s called Sadie & The Hotheads and co-star Michelle Dockery sometimes joins her for gigs.
The Downton Abbey costars also worked together on Disney’s live-action Cinderella in 2015.
“It was my office,” he said. “I thought, I can’t do this for the rest of my life, surely?” He found an acting class in the yellow pages and started working to become an actor at night after his day job.
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes says that if he’d known further in advance that Dan Stevens planned to leave the show, he wouldn’t have died alone in that car crash. “I probably would have killed [Matthew and Sybil] together in a car crash,” he told RadioTimes.com.
The actor was born David Coyle.
Hugh Bonneville once joked that, “It’s Breaking Bad with tea instead of meth.”
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US