9 Things You Might Not Know About Downton Abbey

Things we learned from Downton Abbey cast junket final season

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by Lauren Smith |
Published on

Downton Abbey ended a few weeks ago, but our love for the iconic period drama lives on. And when Grazia was invited to attend an exclusive screening of the new series, we quizzed the cast about what Downton meant to them - and anything we might not know about them and their time on the series. Here's what we learned...

** 1. Julian Fellowes is up for a* Downton Abbey* Movie - but the TV series is definitely OVER. **

"As for the movie – you know, the ballet, the opera, the cartoon – I don’t know. I mean there’s obviously talk of a movie, and I think a movie would be fun because we could open the whole thing up in a way you can’t on television and in weekly, episodic narrative. You suddenly have time to tell the story in a completely different way visually and I think it would be interesting. But for it to happen, the cast would have to be on board and ITV would have to want to make it and so on, so we’ll see. I mean this is the end of the television. That is the one thing we can say definitely."

**2. But the cast, not so much. **

When Jim Carter (Carson) was asked about the potential movie, he said: "Well, the movie exists more in the media and in the fans’ imagination than in reality...there’s been no concrete move. And the way of these things, we’d have to be shown a script and we’d have to sign a contract. And it’s only when the ink is firmly dry on the contract… If it happened and it was a good story, fine. If it was just a cynical, money-making exercise then probably not fine. But if it was done with care, and it’d have to be a one-off tail because you couldn’t assume any previous knowledge."

Kevin Doyle (Joseph Mosley) added:

"The danger would be that it would be very cynically looked upon by critics, and I wouldn’t want to be a part of that."

But Joanne Frogatt (Anna) said: "Especially having gone through the emotions of finishing, I’m even more so going, “Oh it would be nice to have a reunion. It would be nice to come back.” So we’ll see. We’ll see if it all comes together. The difficulty will be getting everybody together at the same time. Everybody will be living their lives with their families and different jobs. So we’ll see. And if Julian feels like he can get the time to write it."

3. The cast reacted differently to the final episode

Rob James Collier (Thomas) said it involved "Lots of man-hugs and back-slapping and men trying to not cry. Holding it in. Solid, stoic. A little bit of wailing. “No, it’s the dust in Ealing Studios, I’m not crying. ” That kind of thing".

While Laura Carmichael (Edith) said the final episode was incredibly moving: "We were singing a song that’s traditionally quite an upsetting, moving song, and you can’t keep your emotions in if you’re singing. So we were singing a song together and we were all looking at each other, and I look up and Sophie’s eyes were kind of crystalled with tears. I looked at Kevin and I tried to sing the last line and couldn’t. Then Gareth came on – our set producer — and said some words. Then Jim sort of tried to thank the crew for all of us. This is a journey the cast and crew have taken together. We had this wonderful celebration with cast and crew the night before. He started to cry and we were all really sobbing –really crying, it wasn’t pretty, it was messy."

**4. Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley) took something from the Downton Abbey set **

"I liberated a letter that was written. One of my great affections for the show is the detail to which the art department go in everything they do. All the letters that the audience never sees, that we receive at the breakfast table, in the study or a telegram, they’re always beautifully composed and written accurately and appropriately to the scene we’re in. So I pinched one from Mathew Good’s character, writing to invite us to some event. That’s going in a scrapbook."

**5. Most of the cast would rather be upstairs than downstairs **

Elizabeth McGovern (Cora): "You don’t have to get up so early in the morning. There’s no question in my mind that life was very, very difficult downstairs. I think the show soft-pedals that to a certain extent, but they had very little time off or time for a personal life of their own. They were up really early in the morning and they didn’t stop working all day long. I think, in that day and age, no matter what role you were given to play, it was a limiting one by today’s standards. You really didn’t have too many choices or options. And there’s something about that that is quite peaceful, but I think it would personally drive me bananas."

** 6. Here's what Jim Carter (Carson) thought of his romantic storyline **

"We’ve got together like two old tortoises and we’re crawling down the beach slowly, and at the Series 4 we held hands and at the end of series 5 I proposed. From the people I meet, they say “When are Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson going to get together? Are they going to get together?” People have been willing us to get together. And slowly it looks like we will. So it was a nice moment. I’ve had some lovely moments like that; consoling Lady Mary when she was in tears and things like that. Those private, emotional moments are quite rare for buttoned-up servants. Of course, they’re a treat to do. And Phyllis has never been the same woman since.

** 7. And the one part of Downton we never saw **

Jim Carter: "One thing we haven’t seen is, I would’ve liked to have known what they all did on their afternoon off. What did they get up to? Carson hasn’t got any friends. Mrs. Hughes is the only person he can relate to because of status and things. Did they have hobbies? I imagine Mosely has an interior life, book reading and catching butterflies… I’d probably be just checking the wine cellar."

**8. The most difficult thing about filming Downton Abbey? Having nothing to do. **

Joanne Frogatt: "Actually, the hardest scenes on set are the scenes where you’re not doing very much. We all have times when we’re supporting the scene and times when we’re leading the scene. Especially for downstairs parts, we do have more coming in and out with one line… And actually, they’re sometimes the most challenging days."

**9. Here's what Lesley Nichol (Mrs Patmore) and Sophie McShera (Daisy) call each other **

Sophie said: "I call her Tele-Mummy" and Lesley said "I call her Televisional child. Don’t ask me why. We’re friends but I do feel very protective of her."

Additional reporting by Aubrey Almanza

DOWNTON ABBEY SERIES 6 is released on Blu-Ray and DVD from 16 November 2015 from Universal Pictures (UK)

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