The real Downton Abbey owner has named her pigs after three of the show's beloved characters.

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary

Lady Carnarvon - who lives at Highclere Castle, which was used as the setting of the popular ITV period drama - named her pets after Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).

According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, she said Lady Mary is "rather special" and sits up "rather like a dog", but Lady Sybil is a headstrong sow and won't return to her pen at night.

She admitted: "It is very hard to move a large obdurate pig around."

Asked what the actresses might make of their namesakes, Lady Carnarvon said: "I would hope that the actors take it all in good humour and affection on our side."

Although both Sybil and Mary are now proud parents to nine piglets each, Lady Edith now lives with 'Countryfile' star Adam Henson.

'Downton Abbey' ran for six series from 2010 to 2015, and spawned a big screen feature film in September last year.

While there are plans for a sequel, the coronavirus pandemic looks to have made it a bit trickier for Dame Maggie Smith to reprise her role as Dowager Countess Lady-Violet.

The flick is expected to begin production next year and has been written by series creator Julian Fellowes.

An insider said: "Given the Covid situation, the hope of Dame Maggie being on set with the rest of the cast is pretty much off the table.

"Safety has to be their top priority and she will be 86 next year. Everyone's hands are tied.

"She has been the spirit and heart of the 'Downton' project for years so it will be really sad if they can't make it work."