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

Or: WHAT IS IN THE TOWER?!?

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For five seasons now, audiences worldwide have been captivated by Downton Abbey — and the stunning estate that it calls home.

Courtesy of MASTERPIECE

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.

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

There is one aspect of Downton/Highclere, however, that I have wondered about.

PRNewsFoto / Crystal Cruises

Something that has, at times, piqued my curiosity.

Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE

OK, often driven me to distraction.

Courtesy of Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

OK, become something of a preoccupation.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

OK, OK, become an all-consuming obsession.

PRNewsFoto / Crystal Cruises

I know, I know, you think this is ridiculous.

PBS / Via giphy.com

So imagine how ridiculous I felt when I discovered that we learned what was in the tower in the first episode of the entire show?

PBS / Via giphy.com

It's in a quick scene between young footman William (Thomas Howes) and head housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan).

PBS

William is storing some luggage, and Mrs. Hughes is mothering him as only Mrs. Hughes can.

Did you catch that?

PBS

That non-descript luggage room is apparently what is in the main tower at Highclere.

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.

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."
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.

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