From a Wall Street Journal article:
We asked Lord Fellowes about the servants and family members who made it to the movie. Here are edited excerpts:
“It’s a way of life that’s gone and I don’t think it’s a bad state that it’s gone. But realistically it must’ve been livable on a level by pretty well everyone involved or it wouldn’t have gone on for a thousand years.”
In what ways did you think it was essential for “Downtown Abbey” to be accurate?
I think if you try to get all the details right and you talk to enough people who remember that life—which there were when I was much younger—you can imbue it with a kind of reality that seems believable to people who maybe don’t know about that way of life and certainly may not approve of it, but when they watch it, they can see how it worked. They can understand how people lived like that. Whereas when you start to get all the details wrong, it doesn’t feel believable. It doesn’t feel truthful.