Downton Abbey obsessed like us? We’re huge fans and literally can’t get enough of the the costumes, the hairstyles, those hot gents in their dinner suits – so whilst we eagerly await series 4, we’ve been on a fact finding mission about the show, the characters, the actors and the abbey itself. Flick through our 50 gems to get your DA fix now!
Downton Abbey is filming for series four as we speak. Hurrah! And here at LOOK, we’re huge DA fans – the costumes, the hairstyles, those hot gents in their dinner suits – it’s all pretty fabulous, isn’t it? So, we’ve decided to investigate the programme a little further and come up with some fun facts about the show, the characters, the actors and the abbey itself – which you can actually visit! Who knew?
We’ll also tell you which celebrity couple got married at the REAL Downton Abbey. Want to know whether the food they use on set is real? Or where all the furniture comes from? Course you do. The series also has a number of unexpected celebrity fans… and it’s won a bunch of big awards – want to know how many?
We can’t even tell you how excited we were to find out that one member of the cast performs magic tricks off-camera. Or that one actress is actually in a jazz band! And we bet you’ve been wondering whether Mr Matthew Crawley is on Twitter. And Mr Carson? WELL… we’ve done all the hard work for you… so put your feet up, and prepare to scroll through our 50 fun facts about the series… roll on series four!
Michelle Dockery AKA Lady Mary is a jazz singer – she sang at the 50th anniversary of Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London.
It costs an average of £1million to produce an episode of Downton Abbey.
Highclere Castle was the location for Peter Andre and Katie Price’s wedding. Yep – they got married at the real Downton Abbey!
Laura Carmichael AKA Lady Edith says of her on-screen sisters: “We’re very close and socialise away from work a lot. All three of us have really bonded.” Aww!
Sophie McShera, who plays the loveable kitchen maid Daisy is on Twitter – follow her @sophiemcshera.
Because there are so many people on set, the crew put coloured masking tape on the floor to show the actors where to stand in each scene.
Violet’s wardrobe (Dame Maggie Smith) is modelled on the clothes of Queen Alexandra, King George V’s mum.
Fashion designer Tom Ford is a HUGE Downton Abbey fan, telling Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley: “Great work on Downton” at a party. Amaze.
The starched, stiff collars on the mens’ costumes can be extremely painful – they can even draw blood – but as Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham) says: “But they affect your bearing and make you stand in the right way.” Ouchy.
Downton Abbey has won 18 awards – a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series Or Television Film and SIX Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Mini-Series.
Lady Cora could have been played by Gillian Anderson. The actress admitted that she was offered the role of Lady Grantham – but said no!
Amy Nuttall AKA the housemaid turned single mum Ethel Parks can be found tweeting @amynutts.
Hugh Bonneville AKA Lord Grantham once appeared in Eastenders. He played a headmaster.
Elizabeth McGovern AKA Cora, is in the band Sadie & The Hotheads. Michelle Dockery AKA Lady Mary sometimes joins her for gigs.
Joanne Froggatt AKA head housemaid Anna Bates has appeared in a number of high-profile programmes, including Coronation Street, Bad Girls and Robin Hood.
Michelle Dockery AKA Lady Mary was nominated for a 2012 Emmy, in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series but lost out to Homeland’s Claire Danes.
Downton Abbey is set at Highclere Castle in Hampshire. The servants quarters and upstairs bedrooms were constructed and filmed at Ealing Studios in London.
The majority of the food used in the Downton Abbey kitchens is REAL. Which means that things like lobster get very smelly at the end of a long day of filming.
Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster are huge Downton Abbey fans. Ronnie Wood’s daughter Leah – who is good friends with Rod’s daughter Kimberley – says “they won’t even answer the phone when the show is on”.
The fake set – as in the recreated servants quarters at Ealing Studios are completely taken down between each series and then reassembled.
Brendan Coyle AKA Mr Bates is on Twitter – find him @brendancoyle99.
Laura Carmichael AKA Lady Edith is on Twitter – find her @Carmichelle.
Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) was a home for evacuated children during World War II.
New footman Matt Milne AKA Alfred has also starred in Wrath Of The Titans, opposite Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington.
When you see a letter, a magazine or a newspaper in a scene – it will have been created especially so it looks as authentic as possible – even down to the handwriting.
Downton Abbey is in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the only international TV series to receive the highest number of nominations in the history of the Emmy Awards – with 27 in total.
Because the cast spend hours on set filming, the crew avoid using any real food containing cream because of the smell by the end of the day.
Also filmed at Highclere Castle were the films King Ralph, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Eyes Wide Shut.
Downton Abbey contains dozens of real antiques – the mahogany desk and chair in the music room once belonged to Napoleon.
Jessica Brown-Findlay AKA Lady Sybil decided to try acting after an ankle injury caused her to give up professional ballet dancing.
Allen Leech, AKA the hottie Irish chauffeur Tom Branson is on Twitter. Follow him @AllenLeech.
Lesley Nicol AKA Mrs Pattmore played one of the giant beavers in the BBC’s 1988 adaptation of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
Downton Abbey is also listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for receiving the ‘highest critical review ratings for a TV show’, beating Mad Men.
It’s so cold in Highclere Castle, that in between takes, the cast are often seen carrying hot water bottles and wearing puffa jackets!
Holly Willoughby is a HUGE fan of the series.
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley is a judge on the Man Booker prize panel – he read a whopping 145 books while on the set of Downton.
According to the show’s writer Julian Fellowes, the parts played by Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Brendan Coyle (John Bates) and Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess) were written for the actors that play them.
Andrew Lloyd Webber actually tried to buy Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, to hold his art collection.
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley narrates the audio book of War Horse.
Hugh Bonneville, AKA Lord Grantham is on Twitter. Follow him @hughbon.
You’ll recognise Dame Maggie Smith AKA the Dowager Countess from her role as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter films.
Jim Carter AKA Mr Carson rides his bike all over the world to raise money for charity.
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley is the editor-in-chief of an online quarterly magazine, called The Junket.
Jim Carter AKA Mr Carson performs magic tricks in between takes to keep the cast entertained!
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley is married to Susie Hariet, a singing teacher. They have two children together – a daughter, Willow, born in December 2009 and a son, born in August this year.
Traditionally, people stopped using table cloths at dinner in the twenties, but the cast at Downton continue to so they can protect the antique tables.
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley went to school with T4 presenter Rick Edwards. They can often be seen having a chinwag on Twitter – follow @thatdanstevens and check it out!
New addition Shirley MacLaine, who plays Lady Grantham’s mum, is on Twitter, find her @maclaineshirley.
Footman Alfred (played by Matt Milne) is SO tall (6ft 4) that new lady’s maid Reed (played by Lucille Sharp) has to stand on a box so that they both fit in the same shot when standing at the kitchen table!
Dan Stevens AKA Matthew Crawley is 29 and originally from Croydon.
The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon currently live at Highclere Castle – the REAL Downton Abbey – and it’s open to the public! For more facts, check out The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis, out now (Collins, £20).