WPT Interviews: Downton Abbey Historical Advisor Alastair Bruce
December 22, 2014 Leave a Comment
“So you see, I love the details!”
Those words arrived in the middle of my interview with Alastair Bruce, the historical advisor to Downton Abbey, and they might have been one of the biggest understatements ever spoken. In his role on the beloved Masterpiece Classic series, Bruce is the reason that every small detail is exactly like it would’ve been in the original era of the grand manor – from set design to the posture and interaction of actors in both the fore and backgrounds. It’s even Bruce’s hands that the show’s fans know from the closing credits, carefully measuring the placement of dishes and silverware on the dining room table.
In this exclusive interview with Bruce from his recent visit to Madison, the man – who also serves as an advisor to the British Royal Family on official ceremonies and customs – talks about his role on the beloved PBS show and the work that goes into making everything exactly right, why the work he does is not “etiquette,” but instead protocol (a lesson I learned firsthand mid-interview), and the one piece of protocol from the age of Downton Abbey that he wishes still existed today.
Learn more about Bruce’s role on the show when The Manners of Downton Abbey: A Masterpiece Special premieres on Wisconsin Public Television Jan.4, immediately following the premiere of the fifth season of Downton Abbey. Want even more Downton Abbey? Read WPT’s Downton Dispatch blog!