'Downton Abbey' Photo Gaffe Sparks Internet Sensation

The hit show raises eyebrows with a historical gaffe that's swiftly inspired a wave of memes

Photo: Joss Barratt/Masterpiece

Say this for the Crawleys: They sure know how to hydrate.

Thing is, as this publicity photo to help hype the upcoming season 5 of Downton Abbey all too nakedly displays, for once the noble family has done something wrong – and very publicly.

As picked up by the BBC and several other news outlets worldwide – to say nothing of fans by the thousands – a very modern plastic water bottle perched behind them spoils the otherwise perfect period pose of Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), and his daughter, Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael), as they stand before the grand mantelpiece of the manor.

So, while the new season – due to arrive on American shores in January 2015, after first playing in its native U.K. later this year – will be set in 1924, plastic water bottles didn’t debut until the 1960s.

Perhaps show creator Julian Fellowes was previewing a visit to Downton by The Beatles? (Perhaps Paul will even buy it?)

No matter. ITV, the U.K. network behind the show, has yanked the photo from social media and its press site, though not before keen-eyed observers had made their comments known online. They also had their fun with the aid of a little Photoshopping.

And, as might well be expected, given the richness of the series, its dress and décor, let alone the memorable dialogue, this wasn’t the first gaffe to haunt the Abbey. This, too, was expressed publicly.

Still, say what you will, we can’t wait till season 5. Keep calm and carry on. Oh, and please recycle that plastic bottle.

Downton Abbey - Water Bottle Gaffe - FIXED!

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