Downton's twincredible double act: First 'interview' with show's new stars who demand Haribo sweets, milk at 7am on the dot and endless naps between takes
By Jo Knowsley and Hannah Ellis-petersen
PUBLISHED: 16:00 EST, 10 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:41 EST, 10 August 2013
With their mops of hair, cheeky grins and expressions of wide-eyed innocence, they're the new double act ready to delight fans of Downton Abbey when the much-anticipated fourth series starts next month.
Identical twins Logan and Cole Weston have joined the cast of the blockbuster period drama – but you'll never see them on screen together.
The twin brothers will share the task of playing little George Crawley, the son of Lady Mary and her late husband Matthew – who met a sticky end in a car crash in last season's Christmas finale.
And the twins are not the only young stars set to charm viewers. Also joining the action is bubbly two-year-old Ava Mann, who will play baby Sybbie, daughter of tragic Lady Sybil who died in childbirth in series three.
Despite their ages, the trio playing Downton's children have been cosseted on set – just like the adult stars, such as Hollywood diva Shirley MacLaine, who plays US socialite Martha Levinson.
The six-month filming marathon revolved around the eating, sleeping and resting habits of its diminutive divas.
The producers also had to provide Haribo sweets and milk at 7am on the dot to keep their young stars happy.
The twins come from the village of Meathop in Cumbria and began filming when they were just six months old. They will celebrate their first birthday later this month.Charmer: Also joining the action is bubbly two-year-old Ava Mann, who will play baby Sybbie, daughter of tragic Lady Sybil who died in childbirth in series three
Their mother Charlotte, 23, said: 'They had their own trailer with "Baby George" pinned on the door. Inside there was a TV, a cot, a sofa and some toys.
'Everything was done to make them comfortable. The days they filmed they'd have their breakfast milk bottle at 7am, nap for an hour between 10am and 11am and have their lunch at noon.
'Then they'd have another nap, have their tea at 4pm and be in bed by 7pm.
'So the filming had to take place between 11am and 12pm or between 3pm and 4pm when they weren't napping or feeding.
'Each scene would last no more than 20 minutes to half-an-hour.
'They didn't have any make-up but they had their own little baby George romper suit, three sets of clothes, and some bonnets. That was it. The only problem was that they kept growing so fast the production had to keep making them new clothes.'
The twins were on set for 11 days. Television rules forbid small children from working more than two hours a day on set.
And after every 30 minutes of 'acting' they must be rested for 15 minutes. This explains why twins are so popular in casting.
'If one of them got upset or fell asleep at the wrong time we could just swap them,' chuckled proud Charlotte.
'We chose whichever baby was happiest at the time. It turned out that Logan did most of the photo-shoots and Cole did most of the acting as he was usually the most contented.
'Logan was teething so he was very grumpy during lots of the shooting.
'The cast were marvellous – particularly Michelle Dockery, who plays their mother Lady Mary and was the only one of the cast who could tell the boys apart.'
Charlotte and her husband David – who say they have no acting talent between them – signed the boys up to a theatre agency 'on a whim' when they were just two months old.
'Somebody had said to me that they are always looking for twins in TV and they are very cute with their big blue eyes and mass of hair, so we thought we would give it a go,' Charlotte said.
'But we were a bit shocked and panicked when we realised they had landed the role of baby George.
'The whole set of Highclere was so pristine and everyone was in such lovely dresses that my main worry was, "Oh please don't let them be sick on the clothes or the carpet!"
'But they weren't. They were so good.'
Meanwhile, Ava, from Kent, is the daughter of 28-year-old school dance instructor Chané Mann. She and her civil servant husband signed Ava up to an agent a few months before she won the role, after people had commented on her confidence and natural charm.
'Her trailer had "Sybbie" on it,' said Chané.
'After we drove to Highclere she would have to rest and have a snack – she always asked for mild cheddar cheese and Haribos and still mineral water.
'The trailer was amazing – it had brown leather sofas, a shower and little kitchen.'
Asked about Downton, Ava giggles and simply says: 'It was fun.'
For her mother, that remains one of the most important ingredients in the experience. And despite her starring role, Ava's little feet are still firmly on the ground.
Her mother says she will be allowed to watch Downton – but it's unlikely to replace her current TV favourite in her affections. She much prefers Peppa Pig.