“You know, get this type of group together and you're not going to get anything other than drama, really,” Julie notes. “We're all so very opinionated.”
“And also, I think putting the camera into the mix just really heightens everything,” Sophie adds. “[It] really builds everything up … the producers won't let us talk to each other off-camera. Normally, you know, you'd patch things up quickly. But sometimes you have to wait a whole day until you can film again.”
That helps explain why tensions have been so high between Sophie and her sister-in-law, Caroline Stanbury, this year. Caroline and Juliet Angus seem to have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and the rest of the cast.
“Those two decided that themselves,” Julie says. “We've never said we were a clique. We're not mean girls. We love each other. We go through ups and downs, and we're fine. That's just a relationship … Caroline and I, you'll see episode four, that we work things out.”
“[Caroline] and I got through this season together, and we did come back from it,” Sophie shares. “Unfortunately, we did have another run-in after filming.”
“They’re not speaking really right now,” Julie jumps in.
“No, we’re not in a good place,” Sophie admits. “I feel like everybody's allowed to have a little break from their friendships, and we're having a little break. Do I want that to get better at some point in my life? Of course I do. But right now I need a bit of space.”
The whole season won’t focus completely on Caroline drama, though. Sophie’s split from her husband, Caroline’s brother, will come to the forefront in later episodes.
“There's no one to blame when things go wrong,” she says. “They just go wrong, and sometimes, they're not fixable, which is really sad … I was having quite the emotional struggle just getting my head around the fact that I was a single mum, I had two little boys. I somehow had to tell my little boys, which was heartbreaking for me.”
“You just feel like you've failed on every level,” Sophie adds. “It was painful for me to put that out there, for sure.”
Future episodes will also follow Julie’s trials and tribulations as she takes over running her family’s estate, Mapperton.
“I’m really sorry I say ‘Mapperton’ so much,” Julie admits. “For every time I say ‘Mapperton,’ I hope everyone across the world will do a shot.”
“It’s not just a house,” she continues. “I don’t think what people understand is, it’s like 2,500 acres. You’re basically a landlord to about 25 different homes. You have thousands of tourists coming, and it costs a lot of money -- people don’t realize this -- to run an estate.”
“It’s a full-time job, and commercially, you have to make it work,” Julie says. “You have to give it up if you can’t make it work.”