Has Downton Abbey gone to the dogs?
Sure, the hit British series' opening credits famously show a gorgeous Labrador prancing across the castle's verdant grounds. But, if local media reports are to be believed, the estate's real-life owners may not be feeling too friendly toward man's best friend.
The Daily Mail is claiming that the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who own the magnificent Highclere Castle in Newbury, where Downton Abbey is filmed, have banned the show's cast members from bringing their dogs with them on set.
A source reportedly told the paper that Lady Carnarvon clamped down on furry visitors "because she doesn't like the dogs going in certain areas in case they cause a mess."
The source also claimed that one of the countess' Labradors—she has five dogs of her own—gets "jealous when rival dogs are on set." (Apparently, bitchy behavior spills well beyond the prickly Dowager Countess. Woof!)
The estate's honchos, however, insist that the reports couldn't be farther from the truth.
"There is no ban from us," the Carnarvors' spokeswoman tells Today.com.
The show's top brass, meanwhile, insist that the Downton Abbey's set remains a pet-friendly environment.
"There is no official policy in place about pets visiting the set," a rep for Carnival Film & Television, which produces the Emmy-winning drama, told the morning TV show's website.
The supposed pooch prohibition isn't the only curious rumor to emerge from production on the show's fourth season. Last fall, reports surfaced claiming that cast members were banned from drinking alcohol on set.
The production, however, did seem to have a few things in abundance—namely, Haribo sweets and milk. The show reportedly stocked up on them in order to keep their newest cast members happy: 11-month-old identical twins Logan and Cole Weston.
They alternately play the son of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), who welcomed the vaunted Crawley heir right before father Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) perished in the shocking car crash that capped the show's third season.
Here's hoping the wee ones like dogs.