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September 23, 2015

Although the majority of scenes are filmed at Highclere Castle, the kitchen and servants' quarters in the estate have been modernized - so the Downton Abbey servants have to go to London to shoot their scenes in a separate studio.

Highclere isn’t just famous for being Downton Abbey - it was also hired for the interior location in Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s film Eyes Wide Shut and the exterior was used for 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. 

According to Jessica Fellowes' book The World Of Downton Abbey - which gives fans an insight into the show and the period in which it was set - the acclaimed TV series costs an average of £1 million per episode to produce.

Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham) and Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham) have actually played on-screen spouses before.  The couple were also man and wife in the earlier TV movie Thursday The 12th as well as the TV series Freezing.

Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) trained as a ballet dancer and was invited to dance with the Russian Kirov Ballet Company when she was 15 years old, but was forced to switch to acting after ankle surgery ended her dancing career.

While Julian Fellowes and the producers of the show held auditions to cast most of the characters, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle and Maggie Smith’s roles were actually written specifically for them - so it was a good job they agreed to play the parts!

Former X-Files star Gillian Anderson reportedly turned down the part of Lady Grantham, Lord Robert Crawley’s American heiress wife. The part ended up going to Elizabeth McGovern instead.

Although a number of female celebrities have confessed to being massive fans of Downton Abbey  there are also unexpected male stars who never miss an episode. Gary Oldman has proclaimed his love of the show, as has George Clooney and Harrison Ford - he even asked Julian Fellowes for a cameo role!


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