It was "The House of Idiot" wot dun it. Ever since French and Saunders' pitch-perfect 1993 pastiche of The House of Eliott, the Beeb's hit Sunday-night drama about a haute couture fashion house during the roaring 20s, I've been unable to watch a period drama without subconsciously looking out for historical anachronisms, budget-saving trickery – just two vintage cars and a penny farthing, then? – and clunky attempts to establish context. ("Don't forget we're between the wars here, Evie!").
This is a particular problem during Downton Abbey, a show that teeters on the edge of soapy self-parody anyway. A highlight of last year's Red Nose Day was "Uptown Downstairs Abbey", from "the Oscar-winning writer of something similar" and starring Victoria Wood,