And we have photographic evidence, oh yes. Via the grace of social media and a very on the ball editor, we took a stroll (well, more of a sprint actually) down to the Regent Street Apple store this evening to have a chat with Hugh Bonneville and Joanne Froggatt, aka Robert Crawley and Anna Bates (as if you didn’t know).
The glamorous, polite and witty pair (basically very similar to their characters, then) popped in for a Q&A session led by Heat Magazine’s telly editor Boyd Hilton. The whole shebang is available to watch by podcast, but not being that technologically savvy you’ll have to find it by yourselves – it’s worth it though.
Not deliberately propagating a stereotype, right, but there was an American audience member who praised Downton for its historical accuracy.
Along the way we heard about all sorts from first impressions of the script to filming on location to goofing around on set and some hints at the rest of the series. My favourite anecdote had to be the wink murder papers hidden in a mustard pot for when dinner filming got that bit too tedious. My money would be on the Dowager, though Edith’s probably a sly fox.
It was particularly interesting to hear Bonneville and Froggatt talk about Julian Fellowes and his involvement on set. Clearly he’s the celebrated writer and creator of one of the world’s most popular dramas, but, I anyway, wasn’t aware of how involved he is on set and with the cast; Bonneville and Froggatt both spoke about how he’s on hand for any tricky pronunciation issues (think I could get him on speed dial for such queries?).
Apparently secrecy is a big deal on the set of Downton – I mean it has to be after the Sybil bombshell. Froggatt told us that every script is embossed with its owner’s name, so that if one is left lying around they know who to blame for any leaks. We were lucky enough, though, to hear a few teasers about the rest of the series. For example, there’s a cricket match in the final episode, which, as far as I’m concerned, surely must mean cheerier days ahead? The Christmas special is not set at Christmas as with last year but eight or nine months later: quite a significant period, don’t you think? Like, enough time for a particular character to have a baby?
I’ll leave you with the shocking revelation that Bonneville’s most difficult scenes invariably involve Isis, who, by all accounts, is “a moody little bitch”. Well I never. But then she is the coolest dog on TV, that’s license to be a diva.
Next week, barring disaster, we’ll be bringing you the gossip from Tom and Thomas. Can’t wait!
Read our Downton Abbey Episode Blog