During the last series of Downton Abbey, some fans suggested the drama was rather more focussed on doom and gloom than in previous years, so if you were one of those fans, you will be pleased to know that the opening of series five is by far the funniest episode we have seen to date.
Of course, there were important reasons for the lack of wit and comedy last year, with the family all still trying to come to terms with the deaths of show favourites Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley, the series before.
But now, with the show moving forward to 1924, there is a much lighter atmosphere, as show Executive Producer Liz Trubridge has been explaining during a recent press event that Unreality TV were lucky enough to attend.
Of the atmosphere of series five, Trubridge revealed: “There has been in all of the series – I would like to hope anyway – a good mix of high drama and laughs. And there’s certainly that mix this time!
“Of course last series was straight after Matthew’s death, so we couldn’t go in with great fun from that.
“We don’t have that this year.”
She added: “There is, I’m sure you will be thrilled to know, the great rivalry again between Edith and Mary.”
This does not mean, however, that there will not be a great deal of drama in the new series, and in the very first episode there is a fire in one of the main characters bedrooms which threatens lives. Liz was asked to explain the filming process behind this stunt, which is arguably one of the biggest on the show to date.
She remarked: “The scenes were shot between the actual house and the studio. Because of the very nature of a stately home [like Highclere Castle, where the show is filmed] you can’t have smoke, because it can cause damage.
“We didn’t want the bill for the smoke damage for the house.
“Although they [the owners] did say that we could have smoke on the gallery, but being a gallery means that it’s open and you can’t contain it, so we actually had our designer rebuild the gallery on the stage at Ealing.”
“We did some of the sequences at Highclere, and some were done in a room that we could that we could set fire to and burn down at Ealing.
“So it was a mixture of both, with obvious special effects and visual effects too. We built it up in a day and, out of character for us, we had to film it sequentially so that it [the fire and damage] got worse, and worse, and worse.
“Then the cameramen at the end got themselves into complete waterproof gear and were hosed down, happily, by my friend here (points to Allen Leech, whose character helps fight the fire in the episode).”
Downton Abbey is due to return to our ITV screens this autumn – Keep an eye out for more interviews from the cast, and crew, in the lead up, here at Unreality TV!