18 fun facts about ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’

The much-anticipated second Downton Abbey movie finally arrived in cinemas earlier this year.

Downton Abbey: A New Era sees our beloved characters from ITV’s hit period drama series embark on a lavish trip to the South of France in 1928 where they must uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.

With the sequel out now on DVD, did you know all these fun facts about the film?

 

1. Laura Carmichael, who plays Edith, was pregnant during some filming and gave birth to a baby boy in March 2021.

 

2. Her partner and the father of the baby is none other than actor Michael Fox, who plays footman Andy!

 

3. Carmichael and Fox’s baby, Luca, actually appears in the movie too, as the baby that Tom and Lucy introduce to the family at the end of the movie.

 

4. Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton, who plays Lady Maud Bagshaw, has been married to Downton actor Jim Carter, who plays Mr Carson, in real life since 1983 – adding even more hilarity to the scene in the hat shop where their characters are mistaken for husband and wife. 

 

5. They’re not the only married couple involved in the movie: director Simon Curtis is married to Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Lady Cora.

 

6. Despite the obvious Singin’ in the Rain influence, the “film within a film” storyline is actually based on the 1928 film Blackmail, which started production as a silent film, but had to scramble to become a “talkie” after the first talkie was released in 1927.

 

7. Tom and Lucy’s wedding was filmed at Belchamp Hall in Essex on actor Allen Leech’s 40th birthday in March 2021.

 

8. Production designer Donal Woods based the colour palette for Tom and Lucy’s wedding on the opening scene of iconic 1972 gangster movie The Godfather.

 

9. In another surprising The Godfather connection, the reason Henry Talbot doesn’t appear in A New Era is because actor Matthew Goode was busy shooting mini-series The Offer… about the making of The Godfather.

 

10. The cast members who were lucky enough to film in France would send pictures to the UK-based cast to make them jealous!

 

11. The original 1920s cameras for the “film within a film” shoot were so loud they had to be shut away in soundproof booths so that the microphones wouldn’t pick up the noise.

 

12. Dominic West’s character Guy Dexter is based on American actor Douglas Fairbanks, while Laura Haddock’s character Myrna Dalgleish is based on English silent film actress Betty Balfour, who was known as “Britain’s Queen of Happiness.”

 

13. Costume designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins spotted Cora’s French Riviera beaded evening gown on Instagram and made contact with the seller. They went on to work together on a number of pieces for the film.

 

14. Lady Violet’s line about “the worst excesses of the French Revolution” is a direct quote from Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

 

15. Actors Hugh Bonneville and Hugh Dancy previously both appeared in the BBC TV series Daniel Deronda in 2002. 

 

16. If you’re wondering why Sir Robert, Mr Carson and Tom Branson all look very tanned in the movie, it’s because the actors that filmed in the south of France had to quarantine for two weeks before shooting due to the Covid rules at the time – during which they enjoyed the sun a little too much!

 

17. The movie which Lady Mary and Jack Barker see people queuing to watch outside the cinema no longer exists. All known prints of 1928’s The Terror are believed to now be lost or destroyed.

 

18. The storyline about the movie shoot helping to fund a new roof for Downton Abbey is based on real life, as Downton being shot at Highclere Castle meant that the owners were able to pay for their own roof repairs.

 

Find out more Downton Abbey trivia about the TV series and surprising facts about the first movie here.

Downton Abbey: A New Era is available on DVD on Amazon.