Lady Carnarvon's Official Podcast

Atlantic Garden Media

My husband, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, and I have the enormous privilege and pleasure of living in, and taking care of, my husband’s family home, Highclere Castle, which is better known to many people as the setting for the popular television programme “Downton Abbey”. Thanks to this series, our home has, over the last few years, become one of the most well-known and iconic houses in the world. My Podcast is my way of trying to share the stories and heritage of this wonderful building and estate, and all the people and animals that live and work here, so that you can get to know and love it as I do.

All Episodes

My latest podcast was recorded on a recent trip to the US. As we end this year I was there to plan an exciting return visit in the spring when I'll be undertaking a tour to talk about my new book 'Seasons at Highclere', (and of course the new Downton Abbey movie!) Helping me with these adventures is my speaking agent Patsy Arnett  who I've working with for the past ten years. I hope you enjoy our conversation. 

Nov 25

28 min 30 sec

Julian Fellowes is the creator, writer and co-producer of Downton Abbey, an extraordinary feat and has kept us all entertained on Sunday evenings over six years as well as writing two film scripts. The first was tremendously successful and the latest film will come out in early 2022. The real Downton Abbey, the very Library in which we are sitting  is also Highclere Castle. I hope you find this podcast as enjoyable to listen to as we did in casting our minds back to the very beginning as well thinking about the second film. 

Oct 28

34 min 2 sec

Eight planes went down here on the Estate during World War Two and, as a result, I now “own” a few remains of a B-17 bomber. Over the past few years I've researched the aircraft and the lives of the crews that were lost here, even tracing surviving family members and on occasionally welcoming them to the estate to remember their loved ones. One of the people who has helped me on this journey is Paul McTaggart. When I first met him he was a willing volunteer with a metal detector, now he's part of the team here at Highclere. You might also want to listen to episode 5 which also deals with Highclere's connections with aviation. 

Sep 30

26 min 21 sec

I've just heard that that the new Downton Abbey movie will be released next year so to celebrate I thought I'd sit down with castle manager John Gundill. John has steered us through our long association with the Downton Abbey project and I thought it was a good opportunity to share our memories of what it was like to host the cast and production team in such challenging circumstances earlier this year. But of course that's not all we talked about.....It's not the first time I've invited John as my guest on my podcast - you can hear him on episodes 14 and 20 as well! I hope you enjoy our chat and do make sure you press the subscribe button to ensure you receive future editions. Thank you.

Aug 26

26 min 46 sec

One of my favourite social events of the year at Highclere is the Battle Proms. Usually we host around 10,000 people at the event, but this year we're being more cautious with numbers. As we emerge from the past year of inertia it's wonderful to welcome Adam Slough, the producer of the Battle Proms, to my podcast. 

Jul 29

22 min 56 sec

My guest this month is my good friend Rafia Willmott. When Rafia's husband John fell ill in 2010 she was inspired to create a restaurant catering for people who need, or desire, to eat healthily.If like me you enjoy creating (and consuming) good food, I'm sure you'll be fascinated by Rafia's story. 

Jun 24

31 min 30 sec

As the Downton Abbey movie cast and crew complete filming at Highclere Castle Lady Carnarvon sits down with her favourite guest - her husband! With spring transitioning to summer and the castle opening up again to the public, it's time for a catch up and to look forward to the year ahead at 'the real Downton Abbey'.

May 27

21 min 35 sec

In this fascinating episode of Lady Carnarvon's Official Podcast her friend and neighbour Sir Peter Michael discusses his fascinating and varied career. Sir Peter tells the story of the business he is most proud of - the Peter Michael Winery in northern California, how he started the UK's first national commercial classical music radio station Classic FM, and how at the age of 83 he is still innovating to make the world a better place with the creation of a new covid-19 testing platform. Sir Peter was also the driving force behind a charitable foundation which took-over the nearby airbase at Greenham Common after the USAF vacated it at the end of the Cold War in 1992. The Greenham Common Trust has gone on to raise millions of pounds for charity groups in the area surrounding Highclere Castle. 

Apr 29

33 min 18 sec

In this month's episode Lady Carnarvon talks to her neighbour and friend Sarah Sladen. Sarah runs a farm near to Highclere so it was a good opportunity to sit down and swop stories about pigs, sheep and the land. As we discover Sarah also has a link to Downton Abbey.......

Mar 25

24 min 52 sec

One of the worst affected industry's during the coronavirus pandemic has been hospitality. Bars, restaurants, hotels, visitor attractions, nightclubs, the list of businesses forced to suspend their activities seems endless. Lady Carnarvon's guest this week knows all about the devastating economic impact of the virus. Ranald Macdonald is the managing-director and founder of Boisdales - a group comprising  of four live music restaurants in London. He first met Lady Carnarvon when they attended St Andrew's University together. 

Feb 25

31 min 49 sec

For Lady Carnarvon's first podcast of 2021 she catches up with her Hampshire neighbour and friend actress Sarah Parish. Close followers of life at the 'real Downton Abbey' will know Sarah spoke at Lady Carnarvon's 'Script to Screen' event in 2018. As well as a highly successful TV and film actress Sarah is a fundraiser. Along with her husband Jim Murray she set up The Murray Parish Trust in 2014 in memory of their late daughter Ella-Jayne who died of congenital heart failure in 2009. The charity has raised millions of pounds to support Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital Southampton. 

Jan 28

25 min 56 sec

As 2021 gets underway Lady Carnarvon sits down with Lord Carnarvon to discuss their plans for the new year. From now on Lady Carnarvon's Official Podcast will be released monthly on the last Thursday of each month. 

Dec 2020

12 min 53 sec

It's Christmas Eve and Lord and Lady Carnarvon sit down to look back on festive celebrations at Highclere Castle down the years. They also reflect on a quite extraordinary year at the 'real' Downton Abbey, and discuss this year's quiet family Christmas. In Next week's episode they look forward to what they hope will be a more joyful 2021! For details of Lady Carnarvon's book 'Christmas at Highclere' follow this link: https://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/christmas-highclereHappy Christmas! 

Dec 2020

21 min 51 sec

Like Lord and Lady Carnarvon the Hon. William and Lady Ailsa Stonor look after an important historic house and estate. The Stonor family has lived at Stonor Park for more than 850 years. Situated around 40 miles to the north-east of Highclere Castle - near the Royal Regatta town of Henley - William and Ailsa have become friends of Lord and lady Carnarvon through their shared duty to protect and preserve their respective family homes for future generations. 

Dec 2020

28 min 15 sec

This week Lady Carnarvon turns the tables on a TV production team that has been shadowing the Highclere staff for an observational documentary to be broadcast on TV in the UK next week. 'Christmas at Highclere' will follow the Highclere Castle team as they prepare for the public events that lead up to the festive break. Amy and Brent talk to Lady Carnarvon about their experiences of becoming part of the 'Highclere family' and how they discovered for themselves what life is like at the 'real' Downton Abbey! You can find out more about the TV programme here: https://www.channel4.com/press/news/celebrate-christmas-two-uks-most-famous-castles

Dec 2020

27 min 20 sec

If you follow the Highclere Castle Instagram account you'll already know that a recent visitor here was the great great grandson of the novelist Charles Dickens. 177 years after it was first published 'A Christmas Carol' is still a best seller. Gerald came to Highclere in memory of  the charity of which Charles Dickens was the very first Chairman  https://www.trtf.com/theatrecommunityfund  which helps actors in hardship.  Like every actor, it has been a  challenging year and Gerald has put together a full length video http://www.geralddickens.com/films.html Make sure you also watch Gerald performing three staves from the book on the Highclere Castle Instagram account. 

Dec 2020

15 min 35 sec

Diana Mitchell is Highclere Castle's head guide. She leads a team of around thirty enthusiastic guides who help to ensure visitors to the 'real Downton Abbey' get the best out of their experience. Some of the guides she works with started back in 1988 when the castle first opened to the public. In this podcast Diana reflects on the impact of Downton Abbey and even the time when she was an extra in one particular episode. 

Nov 2020

22 min 36 sec

There's a bit of a change this week with Lord Carnarvon taking over with the questioning. His guest is Kate Adie CBE, DL  well known for her long service as the BBC's Chief News Correspondent.  Kate has travelled extensively during her BBC career. The two foreign assignments she is most often associated with are the  bombing of the Libyan capital Tripoli in 1986 and the Chinese authorities' killing of protestors in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989. She was on duty in London in 1980 when the siege of the Iranian Embassy was brought to an end by the SAS.   Nowadays Kate presents From Our Own Correspondent and makes occasional programmes for BBC television and Radio 4. Her conversation with Lord Carnarvon was part of the 'History at Highclere' weekend.

Nov 2020

18 min 53 sec

Robert Harris is the author of thirteen bestselling novels including the Cicero Trilogy, The Ghost, An Officer and a Spy, Conclave, Munich and The Second Sleep. He lives near to Highclere Castle with his wife, Gill Hornby. This podcast is the soundtrack to a video interview with Robert recorded in the castle ahead of Lady Carnarvon's charity weekend 'History at Highclere'. He joins her to discuss his latest novel 'V2'. 

Nov 2020

16 min 39 sec

Flight Lieutenant Colin Bell DFC AE FRICS RAF (retired) served in WW2 as a Mosquito Bomber Pilot. Celebrating his 100th Birthday next March, he talks all about his experiences as a pilot in WW2.  His flying training was carried out in 1941 in the United States and he stayed there serving as a flying instructor until 1943.  On his return to the United Kingdom in 1943 he converted to twin engine Mosquito Bombers and joined 608 Squadron (Pathfinder Group) based at Downham Market in Norfolk.  During his operational tours he carried out 50 bombing raids over Germany, 13 of them over Berlin.  He experienced much action and survived many close scrapes. This inspirational talk takes place in the Smoking Room at Highclere Castle, and was recorded for video as well as podcast as part of the History at Highclere weekend. 

Nov 2020

32 min 51 sec

The son of a Battle of Britain Pilot, Air Commodore Rick Peacock-Edwards CBE, AFC would say he has always been involved in aviation. A pilot for the RAF for 35 years, he has gained over 7000 hours flying fighter aircrafts including the Lightning, Phantom and Tornado. His latest book, ‘Rate of Climb’ is an inspiring insight into his career with the RAF. Rick's fun-loving approach to life is evident throughout his book as well as his conversation with Lady Carnarvon in the Smoking Room at Highclere Castle. This podcast was recorded on the eve of the 'History at Highclere' event. For more wonderful stories, be sure to buy Rick's book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rate-Climb.../dp/1911621467

Oct 2020

25 min 51 sec

This week's episode is named after the radio call sign of the British Airways supersonic airliner Concorde. It was 17 years ago this week that the last commercial Concorde flights landed at London's Heathrow airport. The supersonic passenger age had ended, and it's yet to restart. Lady Carnarvon lives in a place of extraordinary history so it seems apt that she should host not one but three former Concorde pilots to reflect on this incredible and historic aircraft. An aircraft far ahead of its time. It's a discussion that takes place in the Music Room at Highclere Castle. Find out more:  Steve Bohill-Smith features in Episode 5, and you can hear about the Red Arrows in Episode 13. 

Oct 2020

42 min 11 sec

Lady Carnarvon's guest this week is Sally Popplewell who is responsible for the wonderful gift shop at Highclere Castle. 

Oct 2020

27 min 6 sec

In episode 6 of Lady Carnarvon's Official Podcast (The Highclere Castle Shoot) she spoke to Eddie Hughes the recently retired head keeper. Eddie had worked on the estate for many decades and gave a fascinating insight into days gone by. This week we meet Ben Waite who has taken-over. It's not been an easy start for Ben, within a month of him beginning his new job the pandemic hit and the UK went in lockdown. But several months later with visitors enjoying afternoon tea quietly in the background Ben sits down with Lady Carnarvon to discuss their mutual love for the wonderful countryside around the 'real' Downton Abbey. 

Oct 2020

23 min 36 sec

It's ten years since Downton Abbey first aired on TV and to celebrate Lady Carnarvon welcomes back to Downton Abbey location manager Mark Ellis. 'Sparky' as he's known has been part of the production since day one and along with Lady Carnarvon and Highclere Castle manager John Gundill he's ensured the 'real' Downton Abbey has stayed in one piece during the rigours of filming. The big question is will 'sparky' be returning sooner rather than later for a new Downton Abbey film? Rumours abound as these three friends and occasional colleagues sit down to look back on an incredible decade that has made the 'real' Downton Abbey one of the most famous houses in the world. 

Oct 2020

42 min 1 sec

Whilst the beauty and majesty of the 'real' Downton Abbey grabs the spotlight there is of course much more to the place Lord and Lady Carnarvon call home. Highclere Castle is situated within an estate of almost 5000 acres made up of mixed woodland and agricultural land. Looking after the crops and the animals that surround the castle is Highclere Estate Farm Manager Simon Andrews.  

Sep 2020

28 min 23 sec

They say being in the right place at the right time is a key to success. That was certainly the case for James Hunter who found himself having a casual conversation with Lady Carnarvon whilst working as part of the catering team at Highclere. James had the initiative to ask for work experience and the rest as they say is history. Having just graduated he's now started a permanent role as an assistant land agent helping to run the estate alongside Lady Carnarvon. 

Sep 2020

26 min 19 sec

Mike Withers has been beekeeping for more than 60 years and when he hasn't been tending his hives he's been helping his wife Pat with the painting and decorating at Highclere Castle. You can hear Pat's story in episode 4 of Lady Carnarvon's Official Podcast series - but this week it's Mike's turn to talk about his lifelong fascination with bees. The Hampshire honey they produce is sold in the Castle shop, and it really is superb.

Sep 2020

31 min 47 sec

In this episode Lady Carnarvon invites one of her neighbours in for a catch up. For 12 years Sir Nicholas Kenyon was responsible for the world famous BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Recorded before the recent controversy over 'Rule Britannia', Sir Nicholas looks back on a time when he made changes to the last night of the Proms. He also talks passionately about the crisis facing the arts following the covid-19 pandemic and shares his concerns for the future. 

Sep 2020

34 min 9 sec

In 2018 Lord and Lady Carnarvon staged an ambitious two-day event called 'Heroes at Highclere' to mark the 100 year anniversary of the First World War coming to an end.  It was a weekend to say thank you, to remember those who served and those who saved in conflicts across the world both in the past and present. One of the organisations that the weekend raised money for was the British Armed Forces charity SSAFA. In this week's podcast Lady Carnarvon speaks to Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB the Controller of SSAFA. 

Aug 2020

28 min 54 sec

For the past 15 years John Gundill has worked side by side with Lord and Lady Carnarvon helping them shape their vision of how they want to operate Highclere Castle as a successful business. John was in the first meeting when a production team came looking for a location for a series called 'Downton Abbey'. Little did he or Lady Carnarvon know how that would go onto make Highclere Castle one of the most loved and recognisable buildings in the world. But, as we're about to find out, whether it's hosting the cast and crew of a TV and film production, or dealing with a burst pipe in the castle, there's rarely a dull day when you're the castle manager at the 'real' Downton Abbey. 

Aug 2020

31 min 19 sec

Over the years the 'real' Downton Abbey has played host to many important visitors, but few have been so spectacular as the nine red-suited gentlemen who visited in 2018. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic display team 'The Red Arrows' were the star attraction at the 'Heroes at Highclere' event which marked the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War. In this week's podcast Lady Carnarvon welcomes back to Highclere Castle team supervisor Squadron Leader Adam Collins, also known as 'Red 10'. Last year the team spent 11 weeks in North America where they displayed at around 20 major airshows and took part in several iconic flypasts.

Aug 2020

31 min 44 sec

Luis Coelho is Highclere Castle's very own 'Carson'. He might not be as tall as his Downton Abbey counterpart but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for with enthusiasm. This year he even has his own bar to show off his mixology skills on public open days. He's another member of the Highclere 'family' that makes the 'real' Downton Abbey such a special place to live, visit and work at. 

Aug 2020

25 min 11 sec

A regular visitor to Highclere Castle is the Bishop of Basingstoke, The Rt Revd David Williams. David's Anglican role is within the diocese of Winchester and embraces many diverse and unique communities both urban and rural. As the castle emerges from the coronavirus lockdown, Lady Carnarvon discusses how the church can play its role in providing hope for the future and shares some happy memories of past dinners at the castle - including one with British food writer, chef and TV presenter Mary Berry! 

Jul 2020

28 min 16 sec

Highclere castle is the birth place of a world renowned classical music festival. The Newbury Spring Festival was founded by the current Lady Carnarvon's late mother-in-law Jeanie in 1979. As well as attracting some of the greatest musicians from around the world the festival gives a chance to the very best young musical stars. In normal years the castle  acts as one of the festival's many local venues. In this week's podcast Lady Carnarvon welcomes festival director Mark Eynon. You can find out more about the festival here: https://www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk/

Jul 2020

30 min 13 sec

If you peer into the kitchens at Highclere Castle I'm afraid you won't find Mrs Patmore, the cook, or indeed the scene you might be familiar with from Downton Abbey. The Downton kitchen is in fact a studio set in west London, but there's nothing fake about Paul Brooke-Taylor Highclere's own head chef. Paul has worked at Highclere for 12 years and along with his team produces food for the hundreds of guests that visit the 'real' Downton Abbey during public opening. Having just returned to work after the COVID-19 lockdown he sits down with Lady Carnarvon to talk about his career, his love of food & what it's like to cook at Highclere Castle. 

Jul 2020

24 min 43 sec

Lady Carnarvon sits down with her husband Lord Carnarvon to reflect on the past year as they prepare to emerge from lockdown. It's been a period which in recent weeks has seen Highclere Castle lie dormant for one of the longest periods in its history. They also look back on how Downton Abbey has transformed their lives and swop memories of living with film crew. Now as the 'real' Downton Abbey prepares to welcome visitors again, Lord and Lady Carnarvon can start to look forward to returning to a more familiar routine.  

Jul 2020

23 min 16 sec

Friendships are at the heart of Highclere Castle and 'Downton Abbey' and in this episode Lady Carnarvon welcomes a good friend to join her for tea and a chat. Anne Diamond was a pioneering presenter on breakfast television in the UK, and in more recent years a local radio broadcaster. Listen all the way through as Lady Carnarvon shares a ghost story, and reveals a 'scented' secret! 

Jul 2020

30 min 33 sec

The partridge and pheasant shoot at Highclere Castle goes back to the time of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and the tradition has carried through different head keepers and Earls of Carnarvon until today. Lady Carnarvon's guest this week is recently retired head keeper Eddie Hughes. 

Jun 2020

26 min 7 sec

In this week's podcast Lady Carnarvon explores the connections Highclere has with aircraft. From hosting early aviation pioneers to the tragic wartime losses in the hills to the south of the castle. Her guest is former Concorde pilot, historian, and good friend Steve Bohill-Smith. 

Jun 2020

29 min 44 sec

Pat Withers has been Highclere Castle's painter and decorator for an incredible sixty years. For twenty of those she's been working alongside Lady Carnarvon on a variety of projects to bring previously forgotten parts of the castle back to life through colour and creativity. 

Jun 2020

27 min 33 sec

On a beautiful day at Highclere Castle Lady Carnarvon found a shady spot to sit down with 93-year-old Les Taylor. Les is one of Highclere's longest-serving members of staff having worked for three Earls. There's not much this former Policeman doesn't know about the comings and goings at the real life Downton Abbey!

Jun 2020

31 min 9 sec

In this second edition of Lady Carnarvon's Podcast she takes a walk, along with her dogs Stella and Freya, to the Secret Garden for a chat with Highclere Castle's Head Gardener Paul Barker. If you have a question that you'd like answered in a future edition please email podcast@highclerecastle.co.uk

May 2020

25 min 4 sec

Lady Carnarvon's first Podcast features her husband Geordie, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and they talk about life during lockdown as well as giving an insight into some of the wonderful historical anecdotes of life at Highclere Castle.

May 2020

24 min 11 sec