‘Downton Abbey’ Cast Warned ‘No Tongues’ During Kate Middleton Set Visit

Downton Abbey isn’t just a favorite of the commoners; it is also a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge. Hello reports that Hugh Bonneville recently appeared on Live with Kelly and Michael, and even 10 months after Kate Middleton’s visit to the set of Downton Abbey, he is still talking about it. Apparently, as long as they kept their mouths shut while meeting the Duchess, they were fine.

“We were told ‘no tongues,’ and it would be fine.”

Previously, other Downton Abbey cast members had told People about Kate’s visit to the set, which was during her second pregnancy. Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley) talked about how exciting Kate’s visit was (http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20974609,00.html).

“It was a surreal and exciting experience to be at work and be visited by a member of the royal family. She has watched the show and loves it and that’s really lovely.”

Michelle Dockery (who plays Lady Mary Crawley) also spoke of Kate’s trip to the Downton Abbey set.

“The energy on set was just amazing, it was magic. There was a moment when I said to her, ‘It’s funny, isn’t it? He’s called George and… the future king!’ That coincidence she finds funny, too.”

Of course, Kate’s visit to Downton Abbey spread through Twitter like wildfire.

Downton Abbey certainly took Britain, and later the U.S., by storm. The Huffington Post reports that over the show’s six seasons time passed, taking them from 1912 to 1926. Through the series, steps were taken to ensure that as time went on, the cultural references, costuming, and props changed accordingly. The war effort was a big part of the change, but show creator Julian Fellows explained to niece Jessica Fellows that there were other changes that were more subtle.

“There’s more of a sense of this world coming to an end and giving way to our own modern age.”

Examples of the changes include the raising of the hemlines on women’s dresses, relaxed dinner etiquette, increased use of cars, increased job responsibilities for upper-class women, increased financial difficulty, and the relaxation of the rules around dating and relationships.

Now there is an American drama that is poised to fill the void left behind in the U.S. by Downton Abbey. The Wrap reports that Mercy Street is a civil war drama that will air on PBS after Downton Abbey‘s sixth season is finished.

Downton Abbey has had the highest viewership of any PBS show in history, and Beth Hoppe, PBS’ chief programming executive, explains that the network is trying to take advantage of that momentum.

“The biggest audience we’ve seen in years will lead right into a big play. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m hoping to bring those 9.9 million viewers we had across that break and into Mercy Street.”

On PBS, Downton Abbey’s ratings were on par with the ratings on other networks, such as NBC and Fox. While they have no illusions about drawing those kinds of numbers again, Mercy Street has been designed to try to capture the interest of the Downton Abbey fans.

“We need to and want to appeal to at least a big segment of the Downton audience, because that’s been such a hallmark of PBS’ recent success.”

Check out the Mercy Street promo trailer.

Ultimately, Downton Abbey has filled a place in the hearts and television-watching schedules of so many people on both sides of the pond, one that would be very difficult to replace. However, that doesn’t mean Mercy Street doesn’t deserve a chance to fill the gap.

[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]

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