But both comfortably predate the show, with records going back to 18 respectively.Dawdling and flirting – accusations levelled by the sunny-dispositioned cook, Mrs Patmore, at the kitchen maid – are even older: the verb : “Miss with all her Flirting and Ogling”).

Flirt sucking-64Flirt sucking-41

There have always been those quick to point out that that a particular type of door handle could not have been used in a particular era as it came into production ten years later, or that certain flowers wouldn’t be blooming in a garden in a particular month.

It all depends on how far you wish verisimilitude or dramatic licence to go and whether your enjoyment is genuinely spoiled by the introduction of a rogue phrase or two.

, adoring Violet Crawley’s pithy insults and Lady Mary’s romantic mishaps equally. What of the supposed anachronisms of language being uttered by a number of the characters?

A few seemingly modern phrases that have been singled out in the press, for example in this article, are get knotted – first recorded in the century.

The series provides a flavour of what life was like in the early 20 century – and it’s not as if it is an adaptation of something that was written at the time, and which has been changed.

And, as pointed out, for every example which may be a little before its time, there are plenty which are on the money.

Of course, programmes meant to be up to date can suffer from the opposite problem, and be accused of being behind the times and of not giving a realistic portrayal of how people speak today.

With language evolving at lightning speed, maintaining authenticity can be tricky, and writers have their work cut out for them when they try to portray realistically the way that any group of people speak to each other, especially when writing about a group of people with a particular idiolect that may be different from their own.

Whether any of this matters to you or not depends on why you watch such programmes.

It could be argued that is not really in the business of providing a painstakingly authentic picture of life at the time – it is a light entertainment programme after all, a point made at the end of the article mentioned earlier.

So these examples are indeed recorded in written English only after the period in which the programme is set: before, during, and shortly after the First World War.