Years before Sir Julian Fellowes ever put pen to paper creating Downton Abbey, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry brilliantly brought Bertram Wilberforce (a.k.a. Bertie) Wooster and his impeccably witty valet, Jeeves, to life in P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster. Airing from 1990-1993, the series brought Wodehouse’s popular short stories to life for 4 seasons.
Totleigh Towers, the recurring fictional location in many of Wodehouse’s best known short stories, was a country house and the home of widower Sir Watkyn Bassett, his ward Stephanie Byng, and his daughter Madeline Bassett. You may not remember the 5th or 6th episode in series 4 with the titles “Totleigh Towers” and “Trouble at Totleigh Towers”, but you will most certainly recognize the setting.
Originally airing in 1993 and based on the story, Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, the episodes were filmed at Highclere Castle, the setting for Fellowes’ Downton Abbey, which provided the Totleigh Towers location for these episodes. Wodehouse’s 1963 novel told the story of Wooster’s on-off engagement to Madeline Bassett and coupled with three other Wodehouse efforts are together known as the “Totleigh Towers saga”.
Highclere Castle was also an outside filming location for other projects such as “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”, “The Secret Garden” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”. In addition and closer to the public television family, various scenes from Inspector Morse were filmed there over the years.