Dogs banned on 'Downton Abbey' set? Not true, says estate
Does Downton Abbey have a "No dogs allowed" sign hanging from its front door?
According to the Daily Mail, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon — who own Highclere Castle, the English estate where the show is filmed — have reportedly banned the show's stars from bringing their dogs to set.
But a publicist for the Carnarvons said pooches beyond the Crawley family's pet dog, Isis, are still welcome.
"There is no ban from us," Candice Bauval told TODAY.com.
A rep for Carnival Film & Television, the production company behind the drama, also denied the report and told TODAY.com that the set is still open to the actors' furry friends.
"There is no official policy in place about pets visiting the set," the rep said.
The Daily Mail's story about Lady Carnarvon imposing the canine kibosh after the stars' dogs had started to run amok through the castle may be inaccurate, but it appears that at least one actor's pooch does indeed enjoy getting into mischief on set.
"I’ve got a border collie who ran off and up to the part of the house you're not allowed to go to," Ed Speelers, who plays footman Jimmy Kent, admitted to the publication. "I had to run after him and pick him up by the scruff of the neck because he was getting mud everywhere."
Speelers' rascally collie, who goes by Frank, was also the culprit of a carpet mauling incident in cast mate Hugh Bonneville's (Earl of Grantham) dressing room.
"He had bits of carpet dangling out of his mouth and I said, 'Frank, you’ve ruined my career. Hugh plays my boss, so you’ve blown it for me,'" he said. "Frank just sat there and licked his lips while I scrubbed away the mud he'd spread around and pushed the sofa into a position that would hide the damage. Now everyone's sending me up because I was acting like a real footman."
While the show's actors may be permitted to bring their pets to the set, fans who want to tour the castle and see where the show is filmed should leave their furry friends at home.
"Highclere Castle only allows guide dogs in the main grounds and in the Castle (apart from the golden lab Isis who is in 'Downton' and of course the Carnarvons' dogs)," Bauval said.
The fourth season of "Downton Abbey" will air in the United States in January 2014 on PBS.