It seems that there’s as much drama behind the scenes of hit ITV period drama Downton Abbey as there is on-screen as it’s been reported today that a “rift” has developed between the show’s bosses and the owners of Highclere Castle where the show is filmed…
Highclere, which is owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon – who are close personal friends of Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes – has seen an influx of visitors since the castle became the focal point of the drama. And while that is of course good news for the building’s owners, it’s not so much for the production crew who’ve had to halt filming several times as coach loads of tourists arrive at the castle.
A show insider said, “The public days got firmly in the way of filming and caused much upset.
“The irony is that the place has grown enormously popular because of Downton, and yet it’s this very popularity that is causing the problem.”
The source added, “Julian could press home the idea that they could shift the show to a new home at any time.
“I imagine they’ll be rather more accommodating next year.”
The paper adds, “Highclere Castle, which has been in the Carnarvon family since the 17th century, is a hugely popular destination for both British fans and American tourists, who watch on US channel PBS.”
Highclere, which is set in 1,000 acres of stunning Berkshire countryside, was rebuilt in the 19th century to be a Victorian “trophy home” which sports 50 bedrooms. It took 40 years to complete the overhaul which was finally completed in 1878.
The current Countess of Carnarvon has previously said, “I suppose if you know how many rooms you’ve got, you haven’t got a very big house.”
Last night a spokeswoman for Downton declined to comment on the supposed rift.