‘Downton Abbey’ boss admits they ripped off idea from ‘Upstairs Downstairs’

The executive producer of Downton Abbey has made a confession about the show’s origin.

ITV’s hit period drama series launched in 2010 and ran for six seasons, before returning with a movie earlier this autumn.

Created by Gosford Park writer Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey earned the most nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards of any international TV series ever.

Executive producer Gareth Neame has been chatting to Forbes about the show’s creation and has admitted that it was another popular British series which inspired Downton.

He explained: “This idea of doing English country houses as an episodic show had been in the back of my mind for a long time, and then I happened to land on some channel that was running this very ancient episode of Upstairs Downstairs.”

Neame recalled: “I instantly knew what it was, although I’d never seen the show.

“And I thought, ‘Well, I’m 40 and I’ve never watched it. I’m too young to have seen it, which suggests to me that there’s two generations now who have got something new to be exposed to.'”

Set in a large townhouse in London’s Belgravia area in 1903, Upstairs Downstairs ran for five seasons on ITV from 1971 to 1975.

The show depicted the lives of the servants (“downstairs”) and their masters (“upstairs”).

An Upstairs Downstairs follow-up series ran for two seasons from 2010 to 2012 on BBC One.

Julian Fellowes’s new period drama series Belgravia will begin on ITV early next year.

Gareth Neame has also recently given fans an update on the prospect of a second Downton movie.

The Downton Abbey movie is available to pre-order on DVD on Amazon.