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    13 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts About "Downton Abbey"

    A few of these facts involve strange smells.

    As the most-watched PBS drama of all time, Downton Abbey remains a treasure of television that won't soon be forgotten. Six TV seasons and one movie later, fans have the opportunity to reunite with some of their favorite characters for the sequel film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, which premieres on May 18, 2022.

    Before you dive back into the world of the Crawleys and their house staff, here are 13 behind-the-scenes facts about this beloved series:

    1. Historical advisor Alastair Bruce oversaw all six seasons and the first movie to ensure that things like manners and social protocols were accurate to the time period. Season 1 begins in 1912, just after the Titanic sinks, and spans up until the late 1920s with Downton Abbey: A New Era.

    2. To preserve authenticity, many of the costumes were never washed. Sophie McShera, who plays Daisy the kitchen maid, even told The Telegraph that their costumes would start to stink. Sounds pretty historically accurate to me!

    3. The Downton Abbey estate is actually called Highclere Castle, and it's located in Hampshire, England. This gorgeous structure has been featured in Hollywood before (such as in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) and is actually home to the present-day Earl and Countess Carnarvon. Yup.

    4. Creator Julian Fellowes is also a best-selling author. He has penned a number of historical drama novels including Snobs, Past Imperfect, and Belgravia, which all focus on classism and the British aristocracy in some form.

    5. Gillian Anderson almost played the Countess of Grantham. Anderson, whose TV credits include The X-Files, Sex Education, The Crown, and most recently, The First Lady on Showtime, was offered the part of Cora Crawley.

    6. The show cast veteran actors such as Dame Maggie Smith and totally new talent such as Laura Carmichael who was working at a doctor’s office when she was offered the role of Lady Edith. Other fresh faces at the time included Lily James (then newly notable for her role in Disney's Cinderella) and Allen Leech who plays Tom Branson.

    7. One couple found love in a Downton Abbey place. Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and Michael C. Fox (Andrew Parker) have reportedly dated since 2016 and have recently tackled one adventure even bigger than stardom — parenthood.

    8. If you've ever salivated at the very sight of Mrs. Patmore's kitchen, you're not alone. The series had its very own food stylist, Lisa Heathcote, who prepared and dressed the food before every scene. "They'll do a few takes, and [when] we think it looks a bit sad, we reset the plates," Heathcote told PBS. "It's like running a restaurant."

    9. For those of us who still dream of a time when Matthew and Mary Crawley were endgame (*sigh* we're in a New Era now), this is your reminder that Matthew's tragic death wasn't actually planned by creator Julian Fellowes. In fact, actor Dan Stevens chose to bid farewell to Downton to minimize the potential of being typecast down the line.

    10. Each episode of the series cost approximately $1 million to film. This sounds pretty outrageous but is actually on the tamer side for big-budget television. Popular shows like Mad Men dished out $3 million per episode, a significant jump from Downton's production costs!

    11. The series was the second most-viewed program on TV during Super Bowl Sunday for multiple years. Notoriously, this particular Sunday washes out any other new content premiering. In 2014, the new Downton Abbey episode garnered 8.2 million viewers, ranking just after the 111.5 million viewers who tuned in to the game.

    12. Highclere Castle, which is the real Downton Abbey estate, was actually used as a hospital during World War I. When war strikes during the early seasons of Downton, the Crawleys open their home to wounded soldiers. This plotline mirrors history, as Lady Almina, the countess residing in the castle at the time, also cared for soldiers in 1914.

    13. Many of the characters' accents are not historically accurate — on purpose! Historical Advisor Alastair Bruce has spoken out about how real aristocratic dialect of the time would be painfully "tedious" for the modern-day ear to hear.