‘Downton Abbey’ quenches viewers’ thirst for a sneak peek of season 5 — with a plastic water bottle. Oops.

August 15, 2014

LONDON — Oopsy daisy.

Diligent “Downton Abbey” fans were left puzzled when they spotted a modern-day plastic bottle in one of the hit show’s promotional pictures.

Sitting benignly on a mantlepiece behind the actors who play the Earl of Grantham and Lady Edith Crawley, the plastic bottle was spotted by fans on Thursday who noticed the anachronism.

While there is a contingent here that seems to revel in huddling around their televisions on Sunday nights to spot such bloopers – a tough job, given the drama employs a historian in charge of accuracy and etiquette – this one occurred in a photo sent out ahead of the show’s fifth season, which begins in Britain next month, and in the U.S. in January on PBS’ Masterpiece Classic.

“Earl of Grantham won’t be happy!” warned the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, noting that the show could “lose serious authenticity.” A spokeswoman for British TV network ITV said “no comment,” when asked about the image, which has since been removed from the show’s Instagram feed.

Season 5 of “Downton Abbey” is set in 1920s Britain, decades before plastic water bottles became commonplace. The period drama has proved a major hit in the United States, earning a string of Emmy nominations this year, including acting nods to Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Maggie Smith (Dowager Countess of Grantham), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley) and Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates).

The cast of “Downton Abbey” was at the Mayfair hotel in London on Thursday and Friday fielding questions from the world’s press about the upcoming series, which producer Gareth Neame said would be “a good mix of high drama and laughs.”

The Twitterati were having great fun with the photo, even as many questioned whether it was a deliberate gaffe to draw attention. One enterprising Photoshop user inserted a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken into another promotional photo.

The spoof account for The Dowager Countess ‏@theLadyGrantham  tweeted: “I can assure you that plastic has never touched my lips and never will.”

Karla Adam is a reporter in the Washington Post’s London bureau. Before joining the Post in 2006, she worked as a freelancer in London for the New York Times and People magazine.
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