Why you really don’t want to dine at Downton Abbey

Those dishes might look tasty, but Lesley Nicol and Sophie McShera, aka Mrs Patmore and Daisy, reveal why you shouldn't risk taking a bite...

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Dining at Downton Abbey might look like a fancy affair – the Crawley’s certainly make a show and a dance of it, what with their bejewelled dresses, crystal tableware and dinner gong – but it turns out there’s a very good reason for refusing an invite… 

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It would seem that supper guests at Downton are actually sitting down to refrozen dinners and smelly lobster. 

That’s right, the dishes served up on the hit ITV period drama are real food, but “it’s not always food you want to eat,” revealed Lesley Nicol, aka Mrs Patmore. 

“Some of those dishes they make for upstairs we’re often just putting them on a tray and off they go. Three weeks later they arrive up in Highclere!” Nicol told RadioTimes.com at the launch of the show’s fifth series. 

It doesn’t help that the kitchen scenes, where Mrs Patmore and Daisy can be seen preparing the dinners, are filmed at a studio in London, while the upstairs scenes, when the very same dishes appear in Downton’s dining room, are filmed in Highclere Castle, often weeks apart…

“A lot of the stuff reappears. Goes in a freezer and comes out,” said Sophie McShera, who plays kitchen maid Daisy.

“Lobster, for one of them,” said Nicol.

“Yeah and that bit of Salmon always comes out,” laughed McShera.

“They refreeze it,” added Nicol. “The lobster was already beginning to smell when they froze it and it came out again!”

“It looks marvellous but we don’t get food envy!”

No. We can see why not now. If anyone from the Abbey calls, we’ll be washing our hair… 

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Downton Abbey returns to ITV on Sunday 21st September at 9:00pm