Has “Downton Abbey” done a time jump?
On Friday, People posted a season 5 publicity photo for the PBS period drama, which shows father daughter duo Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) standing in front of the manor’s elaborate fireplace. But, as eagle-eyed fans quickly noticed, a very modern water bottle is perched on the mantelpiece. Plastic water bottles didn’t debut until the 1960s, while “Downton Abbey” is currently settled in 1924.
The inaccurate promo pic was later removed from Instagram and the ITV press site, but not before a few creative fans had some fun with it. People posted funny Photoshopped shots of Lady Edith wearing loom bands and Lord Grantham holding a boom box. Another doctored pic shows Lady holding an iPhone.
With the water bottle gaffe now fixed, it is not the first time the popular show has come under fire for inaccuracies.
In the past, viewers have also complained about inaccurate language appearing in the script. According to BBC Entertainment phrases such as "get shafted" or "get knotted" have turned up in “Abbey” scripts, and those phrases originated in the 1960s, not the 1920s.
The Telegraph pointed out that past “Downton Abbey” faux pas include an outdoor scene that showed a television aerial fixed to a home, a modern-style conservatory appearing in shot, and double yellow lines on a road. Fans have also contested some of the characters’ attire and the amount of leisure time the staff portrayed on the show appears to get.
“Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes has long defended the show's script, saying he believes the series “is pretty accurate.”
He also said, "The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the program to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge.”
Series five of the show will feature a few new faces. The roles of Miss Sybbie Branson and Master George Crawley and have been recast with older children. (Fifi Hart will play Sybbie, and twins Zac and Oliver Barker will play George.) We’ll have to wait and see if they’ll communicate via talk or text.
The fifth season of “Downton Abbey” will begin airing on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 on PBS.