Did you know...?

I love finding out these little 'did-you-knows' behind my favourite Period Dramas, and - I flatter myself - I have to say I know quite a few. :P I do apologise if most - or all - of these are little did-you-knows you already knew, but hopefully you'll learn some, or at least one new little behind-the-scenes and so on's!

Did you know that the two actors - Nicholas Farrell and Stella Gonet - who played Mr and Mrs Musgrove in the 2007 version of 'Persuasion' were and are still married? I love it when a couple on screen is also a couple off screen. It's just so stinkin' cute! 

I love Nicholas Farrell. He looks so KIND. Nicholas Farrell is in quite a lot of Period Dramas, including Amazing Grace, Mansfield Park and *squeal* Testament of Youth. He's also very young and athletic and absolutely gorgeous in Chariots of Fire, which is a movie I cannot recommend enough. :-) Stella Gonet has also acted in a few Period Dramas and is famous for her role in 'House of Elliot', which, of course, is on my to-see list.

Did you know that, in the famous musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Lionel Jeffries - who played the father of Caractacus Potts - was actually several years younger than Dick van Dyke, who played Caractacus Potts! I found it pretty wow-ish, that. 

Also, did you know that Roald Dahl, that famous author of beloved children's books such as 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' wrote the script of the movie? Tsk!

Did you know that the actor Crispin Bonham-Carter (yes, he and actress Helena Bonham-Carter are related) originally auditioned for the role of Mr Wickham? I'm jolly glad he ended up in the role of Mr Bingley! He just IS Mr Bingley, he is. :-) Just look at those chirpy eyes!

Also, did you know that Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth actually dated through the filming of Pride and Prejudice? Did you? Did you? I know right? Their romance was REAL. And you probably know this already, but did you know that Jennifer Ehle - Elizabeth - had a brown wig? She's a natural blonde, y'know. I know millions and millions did-you-know's when it comes to Pride and Prejudice 1995, but I'm trying to be a bit, um, more general in this post, so I'll leave it to just a few.

Now, Gone with the Wind is famous for many reasons, but one of them is because of all the little extra side-facts which practically everyone who's interested in GWTW knows. But I cannot write this post without a little Gone with the Windian facts, so...

Did you know that those two actress pictured above - Vivien Leigh and whoever acted Scarlett's mother - only differed like, two years in age? I know, right. Who'd have THOUGHT! :-D Also, did you know that Judy Garland was going to play Scarlett's sweet younger sister, Carreen? The role went to Ann Rutherford when Judy got asked to play in the Wizard of Oz.

Did you know that Kate Winslet originally wasn't accepted for the role of Marianne Dashwood? 'They' told her to audition for Lucy Steele instead! Just imagine! Imagine our Marianne Dashwood playing Lucy Steele!?! Impossible. Anyway, Kate Winslet pretended that she had misheard and that she was still to audition for the role of Marianne, and whoom - she got it! Good one, Kate Winslet!

Did you also know that the film-makers of this movie (which by the way, included Emma Thompson (who plays Elinor)) orginially wanted to make the first scene this very bloody, meaty death scene of Mr Dashwood? They ended up not doing that because it was too costly. I for one, am so glad they didn't! It would've been wholly unsuitable.

The 1970 version of 'The Railway Children' is not very much talked-about in the blogging world, it seems - and I can't say why, because it's a favourite in our house! - but I'll add a did-you-know about that one anyway.

Did you know that the actress (Sally Thomsett) who played the eleven-year-old Phyllis (left one in the picture) was twenty years old when she played it? TWENTY? Her contract told her not to reveal her true age throughout the shooting of the movie - she wasn't allowed to do any things such as drinking alcohol and smoking etc. - the cast and crew treated her as if she was younger than Jenny Agutter (who played fourteen-year-old Bobby, and was seventeen.) It must've been hard for her, but she did SUCH a job with Phyllis. I seriously think Phyllis looks like an eleven-year-old in the movie - she's, frankly, my favourite character.
Did you also know that this movie was directed by Lionel Jeffries (the grandpa in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)?

Did you know that both Marigold and George in Downton Abbey were and are acted by twin brothers and twin sisters? Allan Leech, actor who plays Tom Branson, is a favourite with the children behind the scenes. (Aww.)

Did you also know that the downstairs scenes of the movie aren't filmed at Highclere Castle (that's Downton Abbey)? The downstairs scenes all get filmed in London. I know. Weird, huh?
And - weirdest of all - the bedrooms in the movie are all the same bedroom, just differently decorated each time. So Cora and Robert's bedroom is the same one as Mary and the same one as Edith and the same one as Sybil. I KNOW.

There you go! Those were just a few Did-You-Knows... if you all like this kind of post, I might do more of these in the future. :) I know maybe some of you think it's a bit pointless to know these odd behind-the-scenes facts, but I, for one, always find it ridiculously fun! If you have any fun facts about Period Drama actors and movies... do tell me. Although, I have to say, chances are high I know it. :-P

Were you aware of these?
Would you be interested in more Did-you-know posts?


  1. My little sister and I watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a couple months ago and I remember when I saw that Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay I thought to myself.... that explains a lot... ;)
    Then by the time we got to the end of it I was remembering how truly weird the movie was and I was thinking .... Wow! This really does explain a lot!

  2. Nicholas Farrell is probably my favorite Horatio ever -- he's so wonderful in the Kenneth Branagh version of Hamlet.

    I saw Chariots of Fire in the theater when I was a toddler, I'm told -- I know I recognized the theme song and called it "Running in the Water" whenever I heard it on the radio when I was tiny. I've seen it ever so many times on VHS and DVD since -- wonderful film.

    Do more of these posts! I find all behind-the-scenes stuff about movies and books completely fascinating.

  3. Why do movie makers always want to put in bloody scenes in movies where they don't belong??? There is no need to show Mr. Dashwood in Awful Death Agonies. I think he just died peacefully of kidney failure, or something along those lines. And I must say, I was quite disturbed to see the blood-letting thing with Marianne later on in the movie. Seriously, peoples? Please remember you are making a JANE AUSTEN MOVIE and not a cheap horror film.

    Isn't it weird when you find that the actors who played certain characters were either way older or way younger than that character's age? Like, in the 2010 film of The Tempest, Felicity Jones played Miranda, who's supposed to be 15, but she was really 27 or 28. But you couldn't tell--like, I mean, you REALLY couldn't tell--because she just acted so well.

  4. You are so smart. Just, why. ;-P

    Aw, I was going to tell you that about Scarlett O'Hara's mother being only three years older than her, but then sure enough, you already know! I guess you've got to get up real early in the morning to beat Naomi. ;-)

    No, I didn't know many of these. That is SO awesome about Kate Winslet. Now I really want to see the Railway Children! It looks really charming.


  5. I didn't know hardly any of these! Thanks for the "Did you Knows". Quite enjoyable. I would love to see more in the future.

  6. Ooooh, cool!

    Nicholas Farrell and Stella Gonet are married? Aww, that's sweet:) Even though, I have to say…I wanted Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra la Touzel to be a thing. You know, the actress who plays Fanny to Nicholas' Edmund? And then they're a couple again in Amazing Grace, and…I wanted them to be a couple;-P

    Crispin Bonham-Carter and Helena Bonham-Carter! Why did I never connect the dots on that one… But he auditioned for Wickham? So weird…haha, it reminds me of when I found out that the girl who plays Mariah initially auditioned for Lydia…weird again;) AND then when you find out that the girl who plays Georgiana and the actress who plays Mrs. Gardiner are mother and daughter…all the happies:D

    I knooooooow…don't we all wish Jennifer and Colin had stayed together?? And oh my goodness, when I found out from a book that Jennifer Ehle was a blonde, I was seriously freaked out a little. SHE LOOKS SO DIFFERENT. Still beautiful, you know, but different. Ya feel me?

    They were only two years apart? Sheesh! That's…strange;)

    JENNY AGUTTER! SISTER JULIENNE! I sorry. Ahem. I'm collected. It's just that she plays in Call the Midwife, and even though I haven't seen the movie in question, IT'S JENNY AGUTTER!

    All the same bedroom? Wow! That takes talent;)

    (Wow. That was a super-long comment.)

  7. I have to say I knew all the P&P ones-except that Bingley tried out as Mr. Wickham! THAT I cannot imagine...
    Hahaha, I'm SO glad Kate Winslet still tried out for Marianne!
    A bloody death....for Sense and Sensibility? What is wrong with film-makers sometimes!?!
    I've seen A version of the Railway Children, but I think it was a newer one....I haven't seen it in so long, though!
    Thanks for this fun post! :D

  8. Hello Naomi,
    Oh, I love these! I often find out things like that, but I tend to forget them very quickly. :-P (I'm afraid Algebra takes up far too much room in my brain, and pushes out all the interesting trivial stuff like this. *sigh* Oh well, I suppose it had better be that than the other way round.)
    Aww, I absolutely love it when I hear that! I've only heard that within a few movies I've seen but it's So Sweet.
    Haha, that's hilarious! I've seen a TV series ("Get Smart" was it's title) and there is this older man who acted as fellow in his late 80s, and did so convincingly, and I found out the actor for him was 20 something! What?! The make-up department astounds me. :-D
    Yes, I knew Crispin (what an unusual name! Sounds like crispy. Like nice, crispy bacon. Ahem.) was related to Helena. They don't really look the same though. :-P
    And yes, I knew her hair was naturally blonde (it was cut into a pixie!). Don't you think it's funny how someone polished the dancing floor for one scene and they had to use coke to make it less slippery?! I mean, that's desperate. ;-P
    Eww, why would you want to do that? I am glad they didn't. 'Twould have ruined the first scene.
    Oh oh oh! I know that Railway Children! :-D I was brought up on that one! ;-) Oh. My. Word. That is creepy! WHAT?! I knew Bobby must have been older, but Phyllis? Again, high-five to the make-up artist! She must have been a good actor. :-)
    Okay, let me think of some I know....drew a blank. :-P Well, in the new Cinderella movie, Lily James originally auditioned for the role of an ugly step-sister, because she thought that would be fun. The casting people saw her (she had just dyed her hair blonde) and said, "Hey, you could pass off as Cinderella, why don't you give it a shot?" So she did, and she got the role. :-P Or in the 1994 Little Women, they had no idea who to cast for Laurie so Winona Ryder put in her two bits and suggested Christian Bale. Good on her. ;-D
    I would love another post like this! :-)
    ~Miss Meg March

  9. Are you pulling my leg? My goodness, some of these "did you know's" are so out there! I would NEVER have thought that Lionel Jeffries was YOUNGER than Dick Van Dyke! That's just weird! And Mr. Bingly as Mr. Wickham! NO, NO, NO! He's the BEST Mr. Bingley. He couldn't be anyone else! (By the way do you know what kind of relation he is to Helena Bonham-Carter? Just curious.)

    I've never seen the 1970 version of The Railway Children, but you really shocked me when you said Phyllis was played by a twenty year old! Wow! Having a twenty-year-old play an eleven-year-old? That just doesn't seem possible. (Now I'm curious to see that movie. Bother. There's just too many movies to watch!)

    Oh, I definitely enjoy reading these kinds of posts! Please do more! They're a lot of fun. (And just to be perfectly sure, these really are true facts, aren't they? I mean this isn't some kind of joke like your April fools joke on your Downton Abbey blog, is it? Because that just wouldn't be nice.) :)

    Fun post, Naomi!

    ~Miss March

  10. Lois,
    HAHA - now, that's EXACTLY the same reaction I had when I saw it! It explains a LOT of the over-done weird-ness of the movie. :-)

    Hamlette, yeah Nicholas Farrell is lovely. I like him best in Chariots of Fire, though - he was probably my first screen crush. :-) Isn't CoF a lovely movie?!! It brings me to tears every time, and the music is SO EPIC. *swoons*

    Jessica, yeah, I always imagined Mr Dashwood's death to be a peaceful one too. I'm SO glad it was too expensive. :-D I don't like it when they try to make something gory out of a JA movie either (although the Marianne thing didn't really annoy me that much.) Charles Dickens, yes, Jane Austen, nope. :-)
    Wow, Felicity Jones is a very good actress then! She has very youthful looks - I could see how she could pass as a young teenager.

    Emma, Heehee, yes, I guess you have to wake up very early to beat me. :-D (And, oh, it's three years. Not two.)
    I'm glad you didn't know many of these - I tried to do some I didn't think you would know. I want to give my dear friend some new information now and then, you see. And yes, Railway Children is lovely. I just love Phylis and Peter. :-) Some of the movie is a bit sentimental, but it's darling. Lovely costumes and scenery, too.

    Madison, Thank you! I'm glad to hear that you'd be interested in posts similar to this one. :-)

    Olivia, I know - I wanted that too, so badly, that he and Syvestre were together. They played a couple twice! But Nicholas actually also played a couple twice with Stella Gonet - this one and some historical movie I've forgotten the name of.
    Yeah, Maria as Lydia - I can see that better than Bingley as Wickham, though. And isn't it adorable that Georgiana and Mrs Gardiner are mother and daughter!?! Love it, love it.
    I know, Jennifer Ehle is so different when she's blonde! She's gorgeous though, as a blonde, a brunette and also with auburn hair. She looks so flawlessly natural in everything. :-)
    Haha, we went 'OH LOOK BOBBY WHEN SHE'S REALLY OLD!!!' when we watched the Christmas Special of 'Call the Midwife' last winter. Oh, did you know that Jenny Agutter plays the mother in another version of the Railway Children?

  11. Natalie, Well, I'm glad you discovered at least one new thing about P&P. I'm afraid I have no more to discover. :-(
    Yeah, I know right?! Kate Winslet just is THE Marianne in my head. So glad. I can't think of her as the katty Lucy Steele!
    I haven't seen the later version of the Railway Children, but the girl who plays Bobby isn't really my favourite actress, and I don't think it looks that good. If I were you I'd stick to the older 1970 version - it's really Edwardian and gorgeous.

    Miss Meg March, Oh, I feel for ya. Algebra has shoved some nice facts out of my head as well. *clenches fist as Algebra*
    Oh, I also know a TV series - it's called Dad's Army (I don't like it at all, but my brothers watch it a lot) - and there's also this 20-something guy who plays a very old man, VERY convincingly. Make-up does magic.
    Haha, Crispin's name has always reminded me of the word 'crispy.' The name 'Crispin' actually means 'curly' so it's lucky for him that he has super curly hair! I guess that's in the Bonham-Carter family.
    I KNOW. They put coke on the floor! *snorts* I just love all the behind-the-scenes facts of P&P. SO much fun. When I bought 'the Making of P&P' first and read it for the first time, I was SO SQUEAL-FULL. :-)
    I KNOW RIGHT ABOUT PYHLLIS. I still can't really take it in and I discovered it two years ago.
    Oh, oh, I didn't know those that you told me! Lily James auditioned for an ugly sister! Goodness. How humble of her. :-) And Winona suggested Cristian Bale! I guess she felt like working with him or something. :-)
    By the way, how did your brother enjoy the re-enactment? I heard the fireworks and canon-shots in my bed. :-D

    Miss March, Don't worry! I'm not joking. I only pull jokes on April's Fools day. :-) These are all true, I promise. :-D
    Yeah, Crispin Bonham-Carter is, I believe, a third cousin on Helena Bonham-Carter. Quite distant, but still... 'tis cool.
    No, really, Phyllis looks and acts just like an eleven year old. You would NEVER guess. It's VERY well done. I highly recommend that Railway Children Version for everyone! It's a lovely movie to watch with the whole family. :-) I know though, SO. MANY. MOVIES. TO. WATCH.

    Thank you for all the delicious and lovely comments. There truly are a lot of kindred spirits left in the world.

    ~ Naomi

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  13. Naomi,
    Haha, I know Dad's Army! :-D My Dad loves it and we watched it regularly years ago...Which guy was it? The one with the big moustache, um, the butcher I think it was? (Wow, this is going back...last time I watched it must have been when I was around 10.)
    Hehe, well I did not know that. :-) I've never heard anyone else called Crispin though.
    Yes, I have read that book - a friend lent it to me! It was very interesting. :-D
    Haha, yay, I found something new for you! ;-) They're not as exciting as your facts but still, they're something. :-P
    Actually, my brother came home last night! :-D Oh, hehe, you heard it from you bed! :-P My, canon shots mustn't have made a relaxing sleep. He said that it was fantastic (he was close to the English side so he couldn't very easily see Napoleon) but it had its pros and cons. They apparently had someone over voicing it and he said it wasn't overly necessary and kind of took away the special atmosphere. They also had music which apparently was a little cheesy. But other than that, he said it was wonderful and worth watching. :-) I think the little things you didn't know would happen, are the best and most exciting things in a holiday, don't you?
    Thanks for the comment and I agree, Anne would be thrilled to know so many kindred spirits! :-D
    ~Miss Meg March

  14. `Did you know that those two actress pictured above - Vivien Leigh and whoever acted Scarlett's mother - only differed like, two years in age?

    The actress in question was Barbara O'Neil. Ironically, she had received her only Oscar nomination for a movie she had done with Bette Davis, who had been a brief contender for the role of Scarlett O'Hara.

  15. Ah! So that's why the bedrooms in the Jeeves and Wooster Totleigh episodes and the bedrooms in Downton are different even though they were both filmed at Highclere. I've been wondering about this for AGES, so thank you (I know this comment is super late, but I only just discovered this post)


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