Downton Abbey bosses insist on no booze on-set as Julian Fellowes says, “The show can’t go on much longer!”

by Lynn Connolly

As fans of Downton Abbey will know, we often see the characters drinking, with meals or in social settings, however, Rob James Collier, who of course plays devious valet Thomas Barrow, has revealed that no alcohol is permitted on-set, so when we see booze being drunk, it is in fact alcohol free.

Speaking to TV Biz, Rob explained, “Alcohol is banned on the Downton set. It is because of insurance. It is really dull.

“We are not allowed drink while we are on set. We were, back in the day. But we did have some nice ham and cheese from Waitrose the other day!”

The paper adds, “Rob said the stars now had to take comfort in Starbucks — although that too has its problems…”

During an interview with Alan Carr for his talk show Chatty Man, which airs tonight on Channel 4, Rob added, “It is a nightmare when you walk into a scene with a Starbucks latte. It does happen.”

During the interview, Rob was asked about the storyline which last week saw his character making a pass at new footman Jimmy, who’s played by Ed Speelers.

Of that, he said, “I liked it. I mean there are worse men to kiss, aren’t there?

“We didn’t giggle when we filmed it. I am a heterosexual male. I just thought let’s get on with it and do it!”

Meanwhile, Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes has told Vanity Fair magazine that he’s not sure how much longer the show can continue, given that he doesn’t want the actors to have to fake growing old.

He said, “What we don’t want is to go too far ahead and have the actors doing wobbly-stick acting with talcum powder in their hair.”

And while talking about Thomas Barrow and the above mentioned homosexual plotline, Fellowes said, “For me the fact Thomas is gay makes him slightly sympathetic…

“Because being gay in that period was a crime. His nastiness is his way of revenging himself on a world that has dealt with him unjustly.”

The current third series of Downton ends on Sunday, with a 90 minute special that’s set around a cricket match. It will be followed by the show’s Christmas special, and of it, Fellowes revealed “time has moved on” though he didn’t say exactly what period would feature.

I’ll be devastated when Downton ends! Will you?

Here’s a reminder of the recent episode in which Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) died shortly after giving birth…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.

1 Comment

  1. little doves on November 5, 2012 at 10:09 am

    In June 2012 Little Doves received a telephone call from a lovely lady who requested three identical Victorian christening gowns. No, the lady was not the proud mother of triplets but was in fact from the costume department of the BBC and was sourcing authentic christening gowns for The Paradise.

    For Episode three, the BBC were looking for the complete collection of christening wear. They commisioned a gown, cape, shawl, petticoat, booties, socks and bonnet. And, we had to make three sets in ten days!!

    Well, needle in hand and burning the midnight oil we set to, to create the collection. And, it was well worth it. The costume department, on receiving the parcel, informed me that they could not believe what they were taking out of the box. They said everything was beautiful and beyond what they imagined.

    The Paradise Christening Gown is now available for purchase. Created from an authentic Victorian pattern the gown is full of flair and flounce as expected from “The Paradise”. The front panel is lavish and full of pintucks, lace and either blue or pink ribbon and rosebuds. The bonnet and booties compliment the design. Further details on this exclusive christening gown are available on

Comments are closed.