Downton Abbey banned from staging fire at Highclere Castle

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Downton Abbey series five

Downton Abbey cast at Highclere Castle

Downton Abbey bosses were banned from staging a blazing fire at Highclere Castle for scenes from the upcoming first episode of the fifth series because of the building's unlucky history with fires.

'Downton Abbey' producers were banned from staging a fire at Highclere Castle.

The production crew on the hit ITV period drama were planning to shoot scenes from the upcoming fifth series at the historical property in Hampshire - which acts as Downton Abbey in the programme - but the owners stopped filming from going ahead due to a supposed curse.

The opening episode of the new series - which is set to air later this month - sees the mansion engulfed in flames but owners Lord and Lady Carnarvon forced the stunt to be moved to the studio due to the building's unfortunate history with fires.

Lady Carnarvon explained on her website: "We had obviously been aware of this storyline when they were filming it here, and careful with what we could achieve here and what could be achieved at Ealing studios, as Highclere Castle has suffered enough of its own fires."

The episode will see Lady Edith - played by Laura Carmichael - throw a book into the fireplace in a fit of rage before retiring to bed.

The book will then fall out of the fireplace, sparking a huge blaze, which threatens to put characters including the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) in serious danger.

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