But just like the final series of the ITV drama, the charmed existence of Scotland’s Highland estates has been under threat.
Now a major BBC documentary reveals the changing lives of the landed gentry. And the changes mean the country piles used as the playgrounds of the upper classes are now often a woman’s, not a man’s, world.
Lady Lairds, which starts tonight, follows four of those women as they try to keep the wolf from the door in the 21st century.
And Emma Paterson could hardly be more hands-on at the sprawling Auchlyne Estate in Perthshire.
“An hour ago I was patching up a 20ft gap in a fence,” said Emma, 63. “I’ll deal with the cattle, the sheep, anything at all that needs doing.”
It’s all so different from the more carefree days Emma remembers as she grew up in the “Big House” which dates back to the 18th century.
The grand old days may have been fading, but she recalls the vestiges of a moneyed past with her mother being given Auchlyne for her 21st birthday.
“My grandparents had an estate in Dumfriesshire, too, and they used to come up for the grouse season.
“They would bring the chauffeur and the butler. And we had a nanny and a nursemaid and a housekeeper.”
While there are 18,000 acres, Emma’s at pains to point out that all bar 1000 are scrubland, hill and mountain, meaning the 2500 sheep and 100 cattle are critical.
With husband Henry otherwise employed to try and make ends meet it’s Emma who’s he driving force.
“People dreaming of winning the lottery talk about buying houses, cars and holidays,” she says. “I’d re-roof the houses, mend all the fences and so much more. The upkeep of the estate is horrific.
“It’d be a very sad day if we had to sell up.”
Fresh help has been at hand with the arrival back at Auchlyne of daughter Nicola, husband Angus and their young kids Maya and Archie.
“Highland estates can get stuck in a rut,” says Nicola. “I hope I can introduce some different ideas which you need to keep the place going.”
Lady Lairds, BBC1 Scotland, Monday 9pm.