THE SECRETS of Downton Abbey are revealed in an exhibition showing how the hit drama became a part of Bampton village life.

'Behind the Scenes - Downton Abbey' in Bampton Library's Vesey Room tracks the filming of the show across six series, starting back in 2010.

The West Oxfordshire village was famously the backdrop for many Downton scenes and the exhibition, by Bampton Community Archive, gives fans a chance to access all areas of the production.

A range of behind the scenes shots shows how the village was transformed and the sets created, while the display also includes some interesting props.

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With a Downton Abbey film coming out this September, tourists continue to flock to the village and Jenny Chaundy, who volunteers with the archive, revealed it was time to capitalise on the demand.

She said: "The film has regenerated interest and more people than ever are coming to the town.

"The actors were really good with the villagers and we've tried to get that across.

"They were very organised with their filming and were careful not to upset too many people."

The exhibition is mostly comprised of pictures taken by photographers from the area, who snapped the Downton stars right through from series one to six.

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Among the most interesting features is a section revealing how Bampton was chosen as a filming location, with the village needing to match a Yorkshire backdrop, where the abbey is set.

The ideal setting would avoid closing down any businesses during filming and would have two 'distinct centres', one that was free of shops and with a sufficiently grand church.

The show's production designer, Donal Harris, had struggled to find anywhere, until film producer and Bampton resident, Dame Pippa Harris, recommended the village.

He visited within a week and found 'the perfect place', according to the exhibition.

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Ms Chaundy revealed the village was 'as busy as ever' with tourists due to the upcoming film, but she and other residents are hoping to attract visitors to Bampton's other attractions.

The community archive holds three exhibitions each year, all on aspects of village history or subjects of interest to residents.

Meanwhile, volunteers are raising money to restore Bampton Old Grammar School, which features as Downton Community Hospital in the period drama.

They have already restored the building's roof and, once finished, there will be a permanent exhibition showing the filming of Downton, plus other displays and events.

'Behind the Scenes – Downton Abbey' is open daily between 11am and 1pm and 2.30pm and 4.30pm at Bampton Library's Vesey Room until June 27.