Keeley Hawes hasn’t seen Downton Abbey

Keeley Hawes and Ed StoppardUpstairs Downstairs actress Kelely Hawes has revealed she’s never seen a full episode of ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Hawes plays Lady Agnes Holland in the BBC revival of the drama but has told Stylist she hasn’t seen a full episode of ITV’s critically acclaimed Downton Abbey ‘I’ve never seen an episode of it which I think is a very good thing, because whatever I say is going to be taken and twisted. But I understand it’s very good. I think because we each had two grande dames of British acting – we had Eileen and they have Maggie it didn’t help with how much we were compared’

The two dramas have been set up as rivals by the press despite the fact they are set in different periods of the 20th century. While the original series of Upstairs Downstairs began in the Edwardian period by the time it concluded it had reached 1930 while the BBC revival is set in the later half of the decade. Downton Abbey meanwhile began in the post-Edwardian era with its recent second series covering the First World War and its forthcoming third series will charter the 1920s.

Upstairs Downstairs is due to return to BBC One for its second series in February after its three-part revival across Christmas 2010. Eileen Atkins has left the cast, reportedly unhappy with the scripts, with Alex Kingston joining as her sister.