Downton Abbey devotees have long romanticized the charmed lives led by the aristocratic Crawley family, but according to NPR, they have now begun to covet another aspect of Downton life—a butler.
Since Downton debuted on PBS four years ago, the demand for butlers worldwide has risen dramatically, NPR reports.
Only a few hundred British butlers existed 35 years ago, one source told NPR. Today, there are around 10,000 in Britain alone. There are thousands more living abroad.
According to NPR, emerging economies like Russia and China are driving the demand for butlers, as billionaires from Dubai to Shanghai seek a new class of servants.
NPR suggests that the craze for butlers may have emerged partly because PBS has managed to rebrand the butler.
American shows and films such as Batman and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air once imagined butlers as comedic sidekicks or friends.
Carson, on the other hand, the stalwart butler who serves Downton Abbey, is a far cry from a buffoon or even a purveyor of British snobbery. A beloved figure on the British show, he has developed a bevy of rabid fans drawn partly to his sturdy conservatism.
Carson is first and foremost a traditionalist. As wars rage and financial downfall looms for the aristocratic Crawley family, he maintains a dignified persona, bent on preserving familial heritage.
It is an intriguing concept for newly-minted billionaires. Those foreign oil tycoons and oligarchs may want butlers to serve as status symbols to suggest an illustrious familial heritage.