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Downton is all wrong ... the servants should stink, says expert

The cosy image of life at Downton Abbey is completely wrong and "infuriating to watch", according to an expert on the period.

Historian Jennifer Newby said the servants in the hit country house drama, created by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes, look too clean and were too friendly with their employers.

She said: "I find it infuriating to watch, it sets my teeth on edge. The relationship they have with their employers is totally wrong."

Viewers who watched the Christmas Day special saw members of the aristocratic Crawley family support valet John Bates (Brendan Coyle) and his wife, housemaid Anna (Joanne Froggatt), during his trial and eventual conviction for his first wife's murder. The Crawleys also hosted a dance for the servants. The two-hour episode ended with Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) finally going down on one knee and proposing to Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).

Ms Newby, the editor of Family History magazine and author of a new book called Women's Lives, added: "The servants in the programme are far too clean. I don't think people realise that the servants stank."

See TV Review, Page 31