It is probably the most famous dog’s bottom in TV history.
In the opening credits of Downton Abbey a labrador follows a man in toff’s tweeds – presumably Hugh Bonneville’s Lord Grantham – outside the stately home otherwise known as Highclere Castle on a glorious summer’s day.
But now it appears that his lordship will be dog-less for the sixth (and in all likelihood final) series, which is due to air later this year.
Hugh Bonneville has told RadioTimes.com that Lord Grantham’s canine companion Isis has not been replaced in the new run following his onscreen death last year. Bonneville is midway through shooting the new series and tells RadioTimes.com that so far he’s not shared any a camera time with a successor.
A Downton Abbey spokeswoman declined to comment on the storyline but confirmed that if Isis is not replaced and there is no Labrador in the show, the credits will stay the same for series six.
The choice of names is a sly nod to the fact that Highclere Castle, where all five series of the period drama have been filmed, is also home to a number of ancient Egyptian artefacts. That is because the fifth Earl Lord Carnarvon was involved in the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings during the 1920s.
There’s no word yet on whether the opening credits (below) will be changed – or whether that famous bottom will outlive its owner.
Ben has worked as a professional journalist specialising in TV and the arts for nearly twenty years writing for Stage newspaper, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Broadcast, Independent and the New Statesman where he wrote a column.