back to top
TVAndMovies

The One Thing About "Downton Abbey" You've Never Noticed Before

Or: WHAT IS IN THE TOWER?!?

Posted on

That estate is really called Highclere Castle, and most of the show's "upstairs" interiors, as well as its exteriors, are shot on the location.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Throughout the show, we've been able to see a great deal of what this stunningly beautiful estate has to offer.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Downton Abbey production designer Donal Woods explained to BuzzFeed News how they came to shoot in the tower — and why they'll likely never be back again.

PBS

While in pre-production for the first episode, Woods worked with Highclere's manager, Lady Carnarvon, to sort out which scenes could be filmed on location, and which ones had to be shot separately on a sound stage. "I said, 'We're going to do a luggage room. Have you got one? Because I think I might need to build one,'" said Woods. "She said, 'Come and look at mine!' So we went upstairs."

Woods was astonished by what he saw. "It's a stunningly beautiful room, for what effectively keeps luggage," he said. "Beautifully carved doors and everything." But after the production went through the effort to get a film crew up into the room, Woods realized it was likely they would never film there again.

"It's structurally unsafe," he said. "There's liability problems. … There's about three loads of stairs. We couldn't go up there [now]. There's weight issues about the dolly and stuff. That [tower] was added later. Apparently the earl thought he needed a bigger tower, so they had to add it later."

SPOILER ALERT: An earlier version of this story wondered how the dog on "Downton Abbey" was still alive, but, alas, the dog perished on Sunday's episode.