Downton Abbey viewers are used to seeing Jim Carter lurking at the back of the Crawley family’s dining room, gravy boat in hand, but the man who plays stoical butler Mr Carson in ITV’s period drama has explained that he sometimes suffers for his art when filming such scenes!

“I want you to do is spend this afternoon standing in the corner while everyone else is talking amongst themselves and see how much you enjoy it,” said Jim.

“Every time there’s a dinner party scene, think of that waistcoat in the backgrpund that occasionally comes in with a carafe of wine and think that that was 10 hours of my life!”

Yet Jim explains that his character’s duties aren’t without their perks and one of his greatest pleasures is filming scenes with Maggie Smith, who plays the mercurial Dowager Countess…

“I have quite a lot of scenes with Maggie which is a real joy,” he says. “She really is as witty as the Dowager Countess! Julian writes very well for her and she’s on great form this year.”

“Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) and the other young girls on set treat her like their real life granny and show her rude things on youtube between takes. They get on brilliantly.”


Downton Abbey continues at 9pm on Sunday on ITV