The Guest Wing looks upstairs and downstairs in the homes of Britain’s Gentry

Sky Atlantic takes viewers behind the facades of some of the country’s great stately homes to see how Britain’s aristocrats, their staff – and the ordinary people who visit their properties – rub shoulders in 21st Century Britain in The Guest Wing.

Due to be screened in April 2012, the six part series visits four modern-day Downton Abbey style homes in Northumberland, Yorkshire, Somerset and Cumbria to see how their incumbents have adapted to life in credit-crunch Britain.  With cash-strapped toffs opening up their homes to people who want to enjoy their weekends and weddings in fine style, the series looks at the culture clash between the old money hosts and the paying guests.

From eccentric earls to busy baronets and harassed housekeepers to well-organised wedding planners, The Guest Wing also examines the modern day Upstairs Downstairs divide.  And as the grand old houses are adapted for contemporary events, we see the challenges that are faced by the households – from peacocks pooing in the ballroom and pigeons nesting in the cornices, to the social sparks which fly when two different worlds collide.

“The Guest Wing is not just a privileged peek at a way of life which used to be out of reach for all but a few but an interesting commentary on class in Britain today,” says executive producer Nick O’Dwyer.  “As our grand old families come into contact with their newly-rich paying guests we see some interesting themes emerge and in a nation obsessed with the fictional workings of Downton Abbey, it gives viewers a unique chance to look at the day to day life of a modern day stately home.

“Sky Atlantic specifically wanted a series that was visually impressive and the beautiful photography in The Guest Wing shows off our majestic old buildings in fine style.”

Taking a look at how the other half lives, The Guest Wing will check into majestic medieval Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, magnificent manor and wedding day venue Maunsel House in Somerset, glorious gothic East Yorkshire country house Carlton Towers and the Lake District’s historic, haunted Muncaster Castle.

The series has been produced for Sky Broadcasting by Landmark Films.