Downton Abbey’s return means one thing – snuggly Sunday sofa nights are on! Within seconds of the title music we’re craving open fires, warm slippers and toasted marshmallows. Not only have we been drooling over some of the new hot man candy ahead of the fourth series but we’ve also discovered a few behind the scenes secrets definitely worth sharing…
Sophie McShera: “I got an electric shock in the kitchen!”
Playing cook Daisy, Sophie got busy with Downton’s new modern appliance… with disastrous consequences!
“I loved making things with the electric mixer, which Lady Cora buys us for the kitchen. Or I did until I stuck my finger in a bit of it that I shouldn’t have done and gave myself an electric shock. It was kind of my fault. But my arm was funny for the whole day and nobody gave me any sympathy!”
Allen Leech: “We laughed so much it took 14 takes”
Playing ex chauffeur and widowed hubby of Sybil has been a barrell off laughs for Allan, 32 – all thanks to Hugh Bonneville!
“One of my favourite things to do is with Hugh is change a word in a sentence just before a take. Hugh once said ‘just remember, that [the word] politics here means nipples’ and I thought ‘what is he taking about?’ Then the scene started and he goes: ‘Tom, I hear your politics are hardening?’ Did that take fourteen takes? Yes it did!”
Lily James: “I had lots of cider and squealed like a baby!”
At a boozy cast BBQ one actor worked his magic on Lily, 24 (aka Lady Rose)
“Jim Carter [who plays Mr Carson] is a bit of a magician. At a big cast barbeque he did a trick on me where he made lots of balls [come] out of one ball and it was all hidden in my hands. I’d had lots of cider and I squealed like a little baby! Everyone really genuinely gets on. Michelle’s like a big sister and when I’m like a nervous neurotic wreck she’s keeps a sense of humour. I really look up to her.”
Cara Theobold: “Jim Carter saved me!”
As scullery maid Ivy Stuart, Cara needed arms of steel…
“Ivy and Daisy [Sophie McShera] spend a lot of time serving and carrying very heavy pots of food. When all the servants have their dining scenes and every body else is sat down I used to stand there carrying a heavy pot and my arms would literally be shaking. One time Jim just said ‘put it down, sit down, it’s okay’. That was the best bit of advice I’ve ever had!”
Downton Abbey is on ITV1, Sunday 22 September, 9pm
By Gemma Calvert
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