Lord Fellowes admits that the hostility to Catholics he has experienced informs some of the Earl of Grantham’s prejudices in Downton Abbey.
When I ask Fellowes what, if anything, lies behind the unease that the earl – who is played by Hugh Bonneville – also feels towards the housemaid Ethel (Amy Nuttall) on account of her previous calling as a prostitute, his lordship, oddly, declines to say a word.
In Sunday night’s episode, Bonneville scolds his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) for going to a house where Ethel is employed. He warns her that “scandals” always have a habit of coming out. “I can’t tell you how people find out about these things – your gardener, your kitchen maid,” the old reactionary booms.