Downtown Abbey, Jeremy Irons

Courtesy of MASTERPIECE, Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Downton Abbey has been praised and beloved by fans and critics, but turns out Jeremy Irons is not a fan and more of a critic.

While promoting his PBS show Uncovering Shakespeare at the TCA Press Tour on Tuesday, the British actor made some playful (and not so playful) jabs at the hit series.

"What I'm really excited about with Shakespeare Uncovered is we'll see some of the best British actors playing Shakespeare. What you can do is to open up to this huge American audience, show them that actually television doesn't end with Downton Abbey," the Borgias star said. "If you think that's good, then watch the Shakespeare productions. You'll see what real writing, what real stories, what real characters are about."

And just to add a little more insult to injury, he compared Downton Abbey to a Ford Fiesta that will "get you there and give you a good time," while Shakespeare is more like a speedy, sexy Aston Martin.

When asked about the challenges of tackling the works of the legendary playwright, Irons couldn't resist one more dig. "It's practice, practice, practice with Shakespeare. You can't sort of mutter it in a sort of Downton Abbey way."

However, when a reporter asked if his remarks meant he thought Downton was overrated, he responded:  "I've never seen Downton Abbey. So I don't know what I'm talking about, basically. I'm sure it's splendid."

What do you guys think of Irons' comments? Just silly jokes, or did he hit below the Downton belt?

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