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on March 13, 2013
This is a beautiful film, but none-the-less it left me somewhat disappointed. I had ordered it hoping to see the 95 percent or so of the castle and estate that you never see on Downton Abbey. After watching the DVD, that unseen portion has dropped to maybe 90 percent. I'm still wondering what nearly all of the rooms in that massive building look like - you only get to see a few that aren't used in the show. I wonder what relics might lie hidden in the huge, rambling attics and cavernous cellars. I speculate about the massive brick structure attached to the rear of the castle. Never saw THAT in the TV series! What the heck's in there?

I wonder if there are any hidden pasageways or secret rooms in the castle? How on earth do they heat the place and where did the power and water come from before modern utilities? What are some of today's maintenance challenges? Are there still farms on the estate? What do they grow?

Perhaps the current owners didn't want to have camera crews traipsing over every square inch of their house and property, which I respect. Still, I had hoped to see more. I will say that the content, in particular the sweeping aeriel views, still makes the DVD worth owning for fans of the show.
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VINE VOICEon August 28, 2013
PBS has completed a series of famous manors and palaces located through Great Britain. The "Secrets of Highclere Castle" is another extremely interesting documentary of the history of this famous castle located 90 miles southwest of London. Highclere Castle for over 300 years has been the home of the Carnarvans. The most famous of the Carnarvan Dynasty was Lord Carnarvan of the 1920's who was the backer and financier of the famous archeological find in history, that of the Ancient Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Today, the claim to fame of this castle is that it is the castle of "Downton Abbey", the great series on PBS. The documentary tells the fascinating story of how it was built in the 1600's and for over 300 years it was the "playground" of the rich and famous of Great Britain. King George V stayed here a few times and was entertained and dined. The bill for that weekend alone came to over $500,000 dollars in today's exchange! When Highclere Castel was the social scene Lady and Lord Carnarvan had a wait staff of over 60 men and women.
Today, this beautiful castle is lovignly cared for by the present Lord and Lady Carnarvan who spend over $1 Million annually for its preservation and upkeep. Thankfully, do to the popularity of the series "Downton Abbey" it has become a major tourist destination and receives a generous amount of money from the tours of the castle, what PBS/BBC pays to rent this castle for the series "Downton Abbey", and a number of social events. In this documentary, you see the beautiful rooms, dining halls, bedrooms, and private family rooms. Interesting interviews with the gameskeeper who tells of the famous hunting enjoyed by King George V who hunted on the estate for pheasant, doves, and deer. The estate is still hunted on today, but nothing compared to a hundered years ago. The chefs of Highclere tell the story of the meals that were served during its heyday and what is being served today. Lord Carnarvan gives a tour of the estate which is very large, and he shows the grave of his great grandfather, the famous Lord Carnarvan who funded the King Tutankhamun dig. This is an outstanding DVD of an outstanding series that shows the beautfiul manors, palaces, and castles of Great Britain. It is a documentary that is worth watching over again and in years to come. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on February 19, 2013
I saw this special when it aired on PBS this year and greatly enjoyed seeing the ins and outs of the workings of the modern day castle and hearing from it's current occupants. You are shown the rooms so familiar from the Downton Abbey series and learn the history of this beautiful estate.
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on April 30, 2013
I found this to be interesting and somewhat informative but it left me with wanting to see and know more. I am always fascinated with the history and of how things were and was looking for more of that.
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on September 1, 2013
While the video was interesting, we were disappointed by the lack of depth and detail of
the "tour" Most of what was contained could be seen on Downton Abbey. We expected
a more "close-up" tour of the castle, including some fo the rooms and architectual details
of the castle, not involved in the program. Also, some historic photographic views of the
castle and grounds would have been nice to see.
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on August 5, 2013
Enjoyed seeing the history behind the hit tv show
It was fun to meet the people who care for the castle!
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on April 11, 2013
i was disappointed in the length of this DVD - it's only about an hour long. It was interesting, but certainly not fascinating.
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on July 17, 2013
After watching Downton Abbey, I wanted to know more about this castle. While it is interesting to learn how they support the castle, I wanted to see more of it. It was nice to see the current occupants Lord and Lady ??? (Can't remember names) but since they look like average people, actually I would rather see less of them and more of the castle itself.
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on December 26, 2015
I'd have enjoyed a larger tour, but I still found it interesting. Seems the idea of the film was to give just enough information away to leave you wanting more. Clever marketing hoping you'll plan a paying visit to help the Rothchilds pay for their treasures, so they don't have to.
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on January 31, 2016
This is a good background of the castle itself and the real owners of the estate. I think the title is a little misleading.. I wouldn't necessarily call it 'Secrets...' Maybe a title that speaks to the fact that the 'documentary' goes through some castle history and the current Earl and the happenings around the castle today...maybe more like Highclere castle release life story-yesterday and today... Or something to that effect. I liked learning a bit more about the setting of one of my favorite TV series. Worth watching if you are a Downton Abbey fan!
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