DETROIT (WWJ) – January 5 has been marked on the calendar for millions of U.S. fans of the wildly popular British period television drama “Downton Abbey.” That’s the day the series begins its new season.

Although the program itself is a work of fiction, it’s not filmed on a sound stage; and WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne had the chance to talk with the Countess of “the real Downton Abbey.”

Lady Fiona Carnarvon said she loves the series, but there are some challenges to living at Highclere Castle.

“If I put my mobile phone down somewhere, I may not come across it for a while,” she said; and if the ringer’s off, forget it — it could be lost to the ages.

Another downside? Watching the show on TV and noticing a spot on her living room curtains.

Carnarvon said the show’s creator has pun an amazing story, based — at least somewhat — in reality.

“He’s using different bits and pieces of history in order to provide a starting point, or some input into what happens among the people who live here,” she said.

Carnarvon said the castle is her “favorite character” on the show. “… Because it hold them all together; the upstairs and the downstairs,” she said.

Carnarvon said when people ask her about the show, she has to give guarded responses.

“I try always not to talk about what I’ve seen,” Carnarvon said. “If I can’t remember if I saw Hugh Bonneville saying he lost his money in the railway crash, if that has actually been screened.”

The house is open for tours, Carnarvon said, which comes as a surprise to some.

“You can come and have a snoop around someone’s home, which I hope also makes it more interesting,” she said. “It’s the small details that people see, often more than the wonderful paintings.”


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