Top 10... - November 13, 2015

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Downton Abbey
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… Downton Abbey

All good things must come to an end, but it’ll be particularly hard to say goodbye to Downton Abbey when it ends after a festive feature-length special next month. A fixture of Sunday nights for the last six years, the show has been a worldwide sensation, winning fans all over the globe and turning a new generation of British actors and actresses into Hollywood stars. To celebrate the show’s final season being released on DVD (you can pre-order it on the right-hand side of the page) we thought we’d have some fun and go digging through the archives, so here are 10 things you didn’t know about Downton Abbey…

 

Downton is actually in Hampshire…

Although Downton Abbey itself is supposedly a vast estate in Yorkshire it’s actually a much shorter trip for the cast and crew as it’s filmed in Highclere Castle, a 5,000 acre estate in Hampshire.

 

Except the servants’ quarters…

Not all of Highclere looks the part, sadly - the servants’ quarters have been modernised, meaning that all the show’s scenes ‘below stairs’ are shot at a studio in London.

 

There are some nods to the real castle’s famous roots in the show’s pets…

Back in 1922 George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, the real-life owners of Highclere Castle, was quite the explorer and actually co-discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. In tribute to this  the names of the Earl of Grantham's beloved dogs are Isis and Pharaoh. Very nice…



The costumes sometimes smell, quite a lot…

The programme makers take their commitment to period detail to an extremely high level, to the extent that many of the costumes are actual items of clothing from the 1910s and 1920s. Unfortunately, several cast members have revealed, that means they also smell quite a bit…

 

The budget is huge…

We’re not talking Game Of Thrones money, but each episode costs just over a million pounds to make, not cheap is it? 

 

But there is only one bedroom…

A great many of Downton’s most famous scenes have been in the Abbey’s various lavish looking bedrooms, but Mary, Edith, Rose and Cora’s sleeping quarters are all actually shot in the same room, if you look hard enough you’ll be able to see they all have the same view.

 

Gillian Anderson turned down the show...

Although The X-Files actress is a veteran of a few period dramas, she decided that a trip to Downton Abbey wasn’t for her and turned down the chance to play Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham. The role ended up going to The Wings Of The Dove star Elizabeth McGovern…

 

Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville have played husband and wife before…

This isn’t the first time McGovern and Bonneville have played spouses on screen, they were both cast in the BBC’s short-lived sitcom Freezing back in 2008, again they played a British/American couple with a whole load of problems, just in slightly different outfits…

 

Acting was Jessica Brown-Findlay’s back-up plan…

She made her name as Lady Sybil and has since caught the eye of more than a few Hollywood producers, but she only turned her attention to acting after ankle trouble. Brown-Findlay was in her second year on a ballet scholarship when she injured her ankle and required a series of operations, the third of which went tragically wrong and ended her ballet career. Turning to acting instead, she won the part of Sybil a couple of years later...



It’s the most nominated British show at the Emmys…

It’s been a huge success across the pond, with audiences and critics loving it, all in all it’s scored a total of 59 nominations at the Emmys, winning a full 12 times.



The final season of Downton Abbey is released on DVD on Monday (November 16th).

Downton Abbey: Series 6
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