Hello all! Chances are if you're reading this it means you, much like myself, are addicted to TV. You just can't ever get enough of that small screen action! Well, I'm here to tell you that I feel your pain and would like to help you in your noble quest for TV knowledge, which is why I've taken it upon myself to create this fun, weekly feature. Every week, I will dig up new and interesting facts about a show and share them with you right here. So sit back, relax, and let the trivia madness commence!
This week, I would like to cordially invite you all to delve into the aristocratic world of ‘Downton Abbey.’ You don’t need me to tell you there’s no finer family than the Crawleys and their equally lovable servants. And while we’ve watched them all in the very best (and sometimes the very worst) of times, there’s still so much to learn about this high-class series. So let’s get to it — since we wouldn’t want to keep the Dowager waiting.
Did You Know:
1. ‘Downton Abbey’ costs an average of £1 million per episode to produce.
To those of you in the States, 1 million pounds converts to almost $1.7 million. Pretty extravagent, huh? But I’m sure the Crawleys wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. The parts of Robert Crawley, Mr. John Bates, and Violet Crawley were specifically written for the actors that played them.
Creator Julian Fellowes has admitted he specifically had Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, and Maggie Smith in mind when creating those particular on-screen characters, to which we are ever so grateful. And I’m just going to take this as confirmation that Maggie Smith is exactly like the Dowager in real life. Also, can she please be my grandmother?
3. Scully almost played Lady Cora.
That’s right, folks. Former 'The X-Files' actress Gillian Anderson reportedly turned down the part of Lady Grantham, causing producers to cast Elizabeth McGovern in the role instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love what McGovern’s done with the part, but now I can’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like if Anderson had said yes. Perhaps she would’ve found a few aliens living at Downton. (I’m kidding, of course. Or am I?) Oh, what could’ve been!
4. Speaking of aliens, Penelope Wilton and Hugh Bonneville both had recurring roles in the new ‘Doctor Who’ series.
While Wilton (Isobel Crawley) made numerous appearances as (former) Prime Minister Harriet Jones, Bonneville (Robert Crawley) played the pirate captain Henry Avery, first shown in ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’.
5. Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens starred opposite each other in more than just ‘Downton Abbey.’
Craving a little Mary/Matthew reunion? Though their characters weren’t romantically involved, fans can still enjoy the duo’s ever-present, on-screen chemistry in an old British TV movie ‘The Turn of the Screw.’ It’s definitely a different vibe from ‘Downton Abbey,’ so if you don’t want to see the whole thing at least be sure to check out the first 10 minutes as well as the 50:30 and 60:05 marks.
6. The series is filmed at Highclere Castle.
Set on 1,000 acres in West Berkshires, Hampshire, the landmark estate has been owned not by the Crawleys, but by the Carnarvon family since the late 17th century. It’s open to the public during the summer and can also be rented out for weddings as well as numerous other events. However, the kitchen and servants’ quarters of the show are shot in a London studio due to the fact that those parts of Highclere have been modernized.
7. Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern have played a husband and wife before.
Clearly, Julian Fellowes wasn't the only one to recognize this couple's on-screen chemistry. Well before becoming the Earl and Lady of ‘Downton Abbey,’ the actors also played a British husband and American wife in the short-lived BBC sitcom ‘Freezing.’
8. Aside from acting, Michelle Dockery is also an accomplished jazz singer.
She has sung several times at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and has made several appearances at various festivals. Sometimes she even collaborates with her on-screen mother Elizabeth McGovern and her band Sadie and the Hotheads.
9. Housemaid Gwen can be found in ‘Game of Thrones.
Looks like she got a little lost on the way to that secretarial job and ended up beyond the wall. Actress Rose Leslie left her life of servitude at ‘Downton Abbey’ during the first season in order to purse something much more exciting than secretarial work — like playing the part of wildling Ygritte, who also got to hook up with Jon Snow. I’m calling that a win-win.
I hope you enjoyed this week's installment of Facts From a TV Junkie. Check back next week for another fix!
Images courtesy of PBS, Dave Hogan/Getty Images, HBO
Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2014, 8:23 pm
@Anon 4:37 There is nothing wrong with this article. A Fact is a Fact. Just because you claim to be able to use imdb does not cheapen the efforts of the author. Why don't you write some triva to show of your skills?
@wynn gagging voices is opressive.
Level 1 (61%) Mood: aggravated Since: 01/Feb/13
Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2014, 6:24 pm
Could we shut down for anonymous comments yet?! :/
Level 2 (68%) Since: 12/Oct/07
Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2014, 3:34 pm
A little harsh aren't you ? Especially being anonymous? There are ways of voicing disapproval without being an ignorant bully. Nice job.
Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2014, 5:14 am
I loved Harriet Jones in Doctor Who! Maybe I should start watching this show.
Message Posted On Feb 17th, 2014, 4:37 am
Is that the best trivia you can come up with? Most of it sucks ass big time. The castle and cost are interesting, but I'm certain a simple IMDB search on each regular would pull up better trivia than this lame ass crap. Maybe the junkie who wrote this is not a tv one.