Like the Bluth family on Arrested Development, the characters of Downton Abbey must refrain from touching one another as much as possible—and not because of any upper-crust stereotypes.
According to the U.K.’s Telegraph, the show’s historical expert, Alastair Bruce, said that there was no hugging in the early 20th century due to the lack of antibiotics and rampancy of disease in that period. While exceptions were made for romantic moments (of which there were many) and tragic deaths (of which there seemed to be even more), touching was generally anachronistic with the time period.
“We don’t tend to compromise on anything we don’t have to when it comes to historical detail, because that has been a value-added element of Downton Abbey and it has sort of worked,” Bruce said in an interview with BBC Radio 2. “It is important getting the detail right and the pressure does increase. People long to find error.”
At least the touching will never be as historically inaccurate as that water bottle.