'Cousin Matthew' gives his advice on what to drink and where to go when in the UK
Downton Abbey fans will have to deal with the loss of Matthew Crawley after his surprise demise at the end of season three. But cheer up! The real Matthew Crawley (also known as Dan Stevens, the actor who played him) is alive and well and wants you to come visit Britain. We caught up with the actor at the recent Big British Invite, sponsored by British Airways and VisitBritain. Stevens wants us all to know that the U.K. isn’t the land of doom and gloom that Downton’s last season would have us believe. On the contrary, he believes there is something for almost any kind of tourist. In particular, he points out that there is a bustling and exciting food and drink scene.
He is particularly fond of many of London’s restaurants. He points out that "Hereford Road is very good." He also likes Banners as well as The Ivy. And if you’re heading to see a play, "Sheekey is lovely. When you’re in the theater district, Sheekey is a must."
He also thinks that the U.K. has some serious contributions for those who enjoy imbibing. "Hendrick's gin with cucumber is particularly nice. There’s a place called The Experimental Cocktail Club, which is in Chinatown and is very, very nice."
And no matter where you are in the U.K., Stevens says there are certain products that must be tried. He points out that "Wispa bars are a favorite of mine," and he also extolls the virtues of the classic, English Breakfast tea. He believes that "You need to spend long enough in Britain to really try them all!"
So what are you waiting for? If Matthew Crawley says so, you really have to oblige him. For more information you can check out VisitBritain!
What's it like having Downton Abbey pin-up Dan Stevens play you in a film?
A word of advice: if you ever find yourself a character in a Hollywood movie, try to avoid being played by the hottest screen heartthrob of the moment.
If you don't, here's a taste of what will happen. Your wife will say things like: "Perhaps he would like to come and spend some time at home familiarising himself with the part … and its wife?" Your colleagues will ask things like: "Will he be wearing a prosthetic nose?" Most people, on hearing the news, will just laugh. A bit too much.
I know this because, until a minor Twitter mishap a few weeks ago, my greatest claim to fame was being the bloke who Dan Stevens pretends to be in The Fifth Estate, the DreamWorks dramatisation of the WikiLeaks saga, which arrives in UK cinemas this week.
At first it was quite fun. Stevens had killed off his much lusted-after Downton alter ego, Matthew Crawley, for the far more rewarding task of being me. Newspapers reported that he had undergone a drastic diet for the part.
But when Stevens was crowned GQ Best Dressed Man of the Year, no one seemed to consider it a nod to my understated and singular sense of style. Instead they laughed even more.
One day in February I met Stevens for breakfast. He was exhausted, just off a plane from New York, but still looked like a member of a different, shinier species. I told him about the mirth his casting had caused, and tried to explain – him: best-dressed man in Britain, me: possibly worst him: 30, me: almost old enough to be his father him: Aryan pin-up, me: not so much. He looked apologetic and sweetly volunteered that at least he would be having his hair dyed to match mine the following morning.
Irritatingly, Stevens proved to be charming, witty and smart, as well as gorgeous, at a stroke disproving my long-cleaved to theory that God shares life's natural advantages around.
A few weeks later I went to Brussels with my daughter to see some scenes being filmed. It was a surreal experience: our Eurostar train pulled out of St Pancras past the Guardian's offices and a few hours later we stepped into a re-creation of the Guardian's offices, complete with panoramic view of St Pancras. Everything looked familiar, yet slightly different. The office furniture had become slightly more fashionable. My old boss, Alan Rusbridger, had become Malcolm Tucker, a piece of casting rendered only marginally less hilarious by a pair of thick-rimmed spectacles. Benedict Cumberbatch appeared to have entirely transmogrified into Julian Assange. And there was Stevens, being me.
In a concession to verisimilitude, Stevens appeared to be wearing the same M&S V-neck sweater and bad jeans I was wearing the day the Fifth Estate's screenwriter, Josh Singer, came to interview me. I can only imagine Stevens's agent extracted a special hardship fee for the indignity. And he really had dyed his hair. "He looks just like you," my daughter said with faux admiration. "From behind … "
If watching someone pretending to be you say the same lines over and over again for the better part of a day was quite weird, watching the film itself was several times weirder. Despite much angsty speculation by Guardian colleagues that Stevens's star wattage would allow him to beef up his part at the expense of theirs, his role, by the final cut, had been reduced to a cameo as grouchy factotum, grumbling in turn about Assange and Guardian investigative reporter Nick Davies. It is the strangest experience watching someone with your name say things you would never say – and other characters say things you actually did say.
I'm not complaining. A little bit of immortality is better than none at all I guess did the deputy editor of the Washington Post even get a walk-on part in All the President's Men? And some Guardian colleagues who did much more to make the WikiLeaks story happen than I did – such as the redoubtable David Leigh – never even got as far as the cutting-room floor. But sorry, Dan – if there ever is a next time, I hope you're busy.
Ian Katz is the former deputy editor of the Guardian and now editor of the BBC's Newsnight. The Fifth Estate is released on Friday.
What we know about the Downton Abbey film sequel so far
Re-runs of your favourite shows have probably been one of the things keeping you going over the last few months.
Earlier this year, Downton fans were thrilled to hear that deliciously decadent period drama was getting a silver screen sequel.
The Crawley family&rsquos story isn&rsquot finished just yet and here is what we know so far about the Downton Abbey film sequel.
The beloved upstairs-downstairs drama triumphed at the box office becoming Focus Features&rsquo highest-grossing film of all time, breaking Brokeback Mountain&rsquos 13-year-record, according to Deadline.
In April, Downton producer Gareth Neame said they were committed to making the Downton Abbey film sequel providing that could bring &lsquoall the elements&rsquo back.
&lsquoWe don&rsquot want to come straight back, 12 months later,&rsquo the producer told ET Online adding that they wanted to build an appetite for the sequel.
This of course is up for debate when you really think about it, as the first film left fans begging for more.
All the old favourites are hopefully set to return with Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter and Joanne Froggatt already opening up about the prospect of the much-wanted sequel.
Show creator Julian Fellows also shed some light on the tragic plot twist involving Maggie Smith&rsquos character the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley.
Julian told Empire magazine: &lsquoYou imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn&rsquot been reached.&rsquo
Could Downton be Downton without the formidable dowager?
Of course, the global health pandemic will certainly have not helped things.
In a recent interview with Good Morning Britain, Phyllis Logan, the actress who plays Mrs Hughes, opened up about the progress of the Downton Abbey film sequel:
&lsquoWe&rsquod love to do another one, but of course things are so tricky at the moment, there may be moves afoot, but who knows. We&rsquoll find out in due course.&rsquo
For now, Downton fans waiting for a trip to the cinema for the glitz and glam of the Crawley family will have to live by the wise words of Mr Carson: &lsquoWe must always travel in hope.&rsquo
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Avg. UK viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||7||26 September 2010 ( 2010-09-26 )||7 November 2010 ( 2010-11-07 )||9.70|
|2||8 (+1)||18 September 2011 ( 2011-09-18 )||6 November 2011 ( 2011-11-06 ) |
25 December 2011 (special)
|3||8 (+1)||16 September 2012 ( 2012-09-16 )||4 November 2012 ( 2012-11-04 ) |
25 December 2012 (special)
|4||8 (+1)||22 September 2013 ( 2013-09-22 )||10 November 2013 ( 2013-11-10 ) |
25 December 2013 (special)
|5||8 (+1)||21 September 2014 ( 2014-09-21 )||9 November 2014 ( 2014-11-09 ) |
25 December 2014 (special)
|6||8 (+1)||20 September 2015 ( 2015-09-20 )||8 November 2015 ( 2015-11-08 ) |
25 December 2015 (special)
|Film||13 September 2019 ( 2019-09-13 ) ||N/A|
Series 1: 2010 Edit
The first series, comprising seven episodes, explores the lives of the fictional Crawley family, the hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic servants. The storyline centres on the fee tail or "entail" governing the titled elite, which endows title and estate exclusively to male heirs. As part of the backstory, the main character, Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, had resolved his father's past financial difficulties by marrying Cora Levinson, an American heiress. Her considerable dowry is now contractually incorporated into the commital entail in perpetuity however, Robert and Cora have three daughters and no son.
As the eldest daughter, Lady Mary Crawley had agreed to marry her second cousin Patrick, the son of the then-heir presumptive James Crawley. The series begins the day after the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 14/15 April 1912. The first episode starts as news reaches Downton Abbey that both James and Patrick have perished in the sinking of the ocean liner. Soon it is discovered that a more distant male cousin, solicitor Matthew Crawley, the son of an upper-middle-class doctor, has become the next heir presumptive. The story initially centres on the relationship between Lady Mary and Matthew, who resists embracing an aristocratic lifestyle, while Lady Mary resists her own attraction to the handsome new heir presumptive.
Of several subplots, one involves John Bates, Lord Grantham's new valet and former Boer War batman, and Thomas Barrow, an ambitious young footman, who resents Bates for taking over the position he had desired. Bates and Thomas remain at odds as Barrow works to sabotage Bates' every move. After learning Bates had recently been released from prison, Thomas and Miss O'Brien (Lady Grantham's Lady's maid) begin a relentless pursuit that nearly ruins the Crawley family in scandal. Barrow — a homosexual man in late Edwardian England – and O'Brien create havoc for most of the staff and family. When Barrow is caught stealing, he hands in his notice to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. Matthew eventually does propose to Lady Mary, but she puts him off when Lady Grantham becomes pregnant, understanding that Matthew would no longer be heir if the baby is a boy. Cora loses the baby after O'Brien, believing she is soon to be fired, retaliates by leaving a bar of soap on the floor next to the bathtub, causing Cora to slip while getting out of the tub, and the fall resulting in a miscarriage. Although Lady Mary intends to accept Matthew, Matthew believes her reticence is due to the earlier uncertainty of his heirship and emotionally rescinds his proposal, leaving Lady Mary devastated. The series ends just after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.
Series 2: 2011 Edit
The second series comprises eight episodes and runs from the Battle of the Somme in 1916 to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. During the war, Downton Abbey is temporarily converted into an officers' convalescent hospital.
Matthew, having left Downton, is now a British Army officer and has become engaged. His fiancée is Lavinia Swire, the daughter of a Liberal minister. William Mason, the second footman, is drafted, even after attempts by the Dowager Countess of Grantham to save him from conscription. William is taken under Matthew's protection as his personal orderly. Both are injured in a bomb blast. William dies from his wounds, but only after a deathbed marriage to Daisy, the kitchen maid. While Daisy does not believe she loves William, she marries him in last days as his dying wish. It is not until a brief encounter with the Dowager Countess that she begins to realise that her love was real, but was unable to admit it herself at the time.
Mary, while acknowledging her feelings for Matthew, becomes engaged to Sir Richard Carlisle, a powerful and ruthless newspaper mogul. Their relationship is rocky, but Mary feels bound to Carlisle after he agrees to kill a story regarding her past scandalous indiscretion. Bates's wife, Vera, repeatedly causes trouble for John and Anna, who is now his fiancée, and threatens to expose Mary's indiscretion. When Mrs Bates mysteriously commits suicide with an arsenic pie, leaving no note, Bates is arrested on suspicion of her murder. Matthew and Mary realise they are still in love, but Matthew remains staunchly committed to Lavinia in order to keep his word and promise to marry her regardless of his own spinal injury from the blast. Unknown to them both, Lavinia, ill with Spanish flu, sees and overhears Matthew and Mary admit their love for one another while dancing to a song playing on the phonograph gifted as a wedding present to Matthew and Lavinia.
The Spanish influenza epidemic hits Downton Abbey further with Cora, taken seriously ill, as well as Carson, the butler. During the outbreak, Thomas attempts to make up for his inability to find other employment after the war by making himself as useful as possible and is made Lord Grantham's valet after Bates is arrested. Lavinia dies abruptly, which causes great guilt to both Matthew and Mary. Bates is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death but the sentence is commuted to life in prison. After a talk with Robert, Mary realises that she must break off her engagement to Carlisle a fight breaks out, but in the end Carlisle goes quietly and is never heard from again. The annual Servants' Ball is held at Downton, and Mary and Matthew finally find their way to a marriage proposal on a snowy evening outside the Abbey.
Lady Sybil, the youngest Crawley daughter, beginning to find her aristocratic life stifling, falls in love with Tom Branson, the new chauffeur of Irish descent with strong socialist leanings. She is talked out of elopement by her sisters and eventually receives Lord Grantham's reluctant blessing.
Ethel Parks, a new housemaid, is seduced by an injured officer, Major Bryant. Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, finds them together in bed and dismisses Ethel, but takes pity on her and helps her when Ethel tells her she is pregnant. She has a baby boy and names him Charlie after his father, but Major Bryant refuses to acknowledge his paternity.
Series 3: 2012 Edit
In episode one of the third series, covering 1920 to 1921, preparations are underway for Mary and Matthew's wedding. Tom and Sybil Branson arrive from Ireland, where they now live, to attend the wedding. Also arriving to attend the wedding of her granddaughter is Cora's mother, Martha Levinson, from America. Robert (Lord Grantham) learns that the bulk of the family's fortune (including Cora's dowry) has been lost due to his well-intentioned, but bad investment in the Grand Trunk Railway. In the meantime, Edith has fallen hard for Sir Anthony Strallen, whom Robert discourages from marrying Edith due to his age and infirm condition. At Edith's insistence, Robert gives in and welcomes Sir Anthony, but even though he loves her, the latter cannot accept the fact that the Grantham family is not happy with the match, and at the altar announces that he cannot go through with the wedding, devastating Edith. Strallen exits the church quickly and is never heard from again.
Meanwhile, Bates's cellmate tries to plant drugs in his bedding, but Bates is informed by a fellow prisoner allowing him time to find the hidden drug package before a search and hide it. Back at Downton, Mrs Hughes finds out she may have breast cancer, which only some of the household hear about, causing deep concern, but the tumour turns out to be benign. Tom Branson and Lady Sybil, now pregnant, return to Downton after Tom is implicated in the burning of an Irish aristocrat's house. After Matthew's reluctance to accept an inheritance from Lavinia's recently deceased father and then Robert's reluctance to accept that inheritance as a gift, Matthew and Robert reach a compromise in which Matthew accepts that the inheritance will be used as an investment in the estate, giving Matthew an equal say in how it is run. However, as time goes on Robert repeatedly resists Matthew and Tom's efforts to modernize the running of the estate to make it profitable.
Tragedy strikes when Sybil dies from eclampsia shortly after giving birth. Tom, devastated, names his daughter Sybil after his late wife. Bates is released from prison after Anna uncovers evidence clearing him of his wife's murder. Tom becomes the new land agent at the suggestion of Violet, the Dowager Countess. Barrow and O'Brien have a falling out, after which O'Brien leads Barrow to believe that Jimmy, the new footman, is sexually attracted to him. Barrow enters Jimmy's room and kisses him while he is sleeping, which wakes him up shocked, confused, and very angry. In the end, Lord Grantham defuses the situation. The family, except Branson, visits Violet's niece Susan, her husband "Shrimpie", the Marquess of Flintshire and their daughter Rose, in Scotland, accompanied by Matthew and a very pregnant Mary. The Marquess confides to Robert that his estate is bankrupt and will be sold, making Robert recognise that Downton has been saved through Matthew and Tom's efforts to modernise. At Downton, Edna Braithwaite, the new maid, enters Tom's room and kisses him, to which he asks her to leave, and she is eventually fired. Mary returns to Downton with Anna and gives birth to the new heir, but Matthew dies in a car crash while driving home from the hospital after seeing his newborn son.
Series 4: 2013 Edit
In series four, covering 1922 to 1923, Cora's lady's maid O'Brien leaves to serve Lady Flintshire in British India. Cora hires Edna Braithwaite, who had previously been fired for her interest in Tom. Eventually the situation blows up, and Edna is replaced by Phyllis Baxter.
Lady Mary deeply mourns Matthew's death. Matthew's newly-found will states Mary is to be his sole heir and thus gives her management over his share of the estate until their son, George, comes of age. With Tom's encouragement, Mary assumes a more active role in running Downton. Two new suitors—Lord Gillingham and Charles Blake—arrive at Downton, though Mary, still grieving, is not interested. Middle daughter Lady Edith, who has begun writing a weekly newspaper column, and Michael Gregson, her editor, fall in love. Due to British law, he is unable to divorce his wife, who is mentally ill and in an asylum. Gregson travels to Germany to seek citizenship there, enabling him to divorce, but is killed by Hitler's Brownshirts during riots. Edith is left pregnant and decides to have an illegal abortion, but ultimately gives up. With the help from her paternal aunt, Lady Rosamund, Edith secretly gives birth to a daughter while abroad, and places the baby with adoptive parents in Switzerland, but reclaims her after arranging a new adoptive family on the estate. Mr and Mrs Drewe of Yew Tree Farm take the baby in and raise her as their own.
Anna is raped by Lord Gillingham's valet, Mr Green, which Mr Bates later discovers. Subsequently, Mr Green is killed in a London street accident. A local school teacher, Sarah Bunting, and Tom begin a friendship, though Robert (Lord Grantham) despises her due to her openly vocal anti-aristocracy views. On the Christmas special, Sampson, a card sharp, steals a letter written by Edward VIII, then Prince of Wales, to his mistress, Rose's friend Freda Ward, which, if made public, would create a scandal the entire Crawley family connives to retrieve it, though it is Bates who extracts the letter from Sampson's overcoat, and it is returned to Mrs Ward.
Series 5: 2014 Edit
In series five, covering the year 1924, a Russian exile, Prince Kuragin, wishes to renew his past affections for the Dowager Countess (Violet). Violet instead locates his wife in British Hong Kong and reunites the Prince and his estranged wife. Scotland Yard and the local police investigate Green's death. Violet learns that Marigold is Edith's daughter. Meanwhile, Mrs Drewe, not knowing Marigold's true parentage, resents Edith's constant visits. To increase his chances with Mary, Charles Blake plots to reunite Gillingham and his ex-fiancée, Mabel. After Edith inherits Michael Gregson's publishing company, she removes Marigold from the Drewes and relocates to London. Simon Bricker, an art expert interested in one of Downton's paintings, shows his true intentions toward Cora and is thrown out by Robert, causing a temporary rift between the couple.
Mrs Patmore's decision to invest her inheritance in real estate inspires Mr Carson, Downton's butler, to do likewise. He suggests that head housekeeper Mrs Hughes invest with him she confesses she has no money due to supporting a mentally incapacitated sister. The Crawleys' cousin, Lady Rose, daughter of Lord and Lady Flintshire, becomes engaged to Atticus Aldridge, son of Lord and Lady Sinderby. Lord Sinderby strongly objects to Atticus's marrying outside the Jewish faith. Lord Merton proposes to Isobel Crawley (Matthew's mother). She accepts, but later ends the engagement due to Lord Merton's sons' disparaging comments over her status as a commoner. Lady Flintshire employs underhanded schemes to derail Rose and Atticus's engagement, including announcing to everyone at the wedding that she and her husband are divorcing, intending to cause a scandal to stop Rose's marriage to Atticus they are married anyway.
When Anna is arrested on suspicion of Green's murder, Bates writes a false confession before fleeing to Ireland. Miss Baxter and Molesley, a footman, are able to prove that Bates was in York at the time of the murder. This new information allows Anna to be released. Cora eventually learns the truth about Marigold, and wants her raised at Downton Marigold is presented as Edith's ward, but Robert and Tom eventually discern the truth: only Mary is unaware. When a war memorial is unveiled in the town, Robert arranges for a separate plaque to honour the cook Mrs Patmore's late nephew, who was shot for cowardice and excluded from his own village's memorial.
The Crawleys are invited to Brancaster Castle, which Lord and Lady Sinderby have rented for a shooting party. While there, Lady Rose, with help from the Crawleys, defuses a personal near-disaster for Lord Sinderby, earning his gratitude and securing his approval of Rose. A second footman, Andy, is hired on Barrow's recommendation. During the annual Downton Abbey Christmas celebration, Tom Branson announces he is moving to America to work for his cousin, taking daughter Sybil with him. Mr Carson proposes marriage to Mrs Hughes and she accepts.
Series 6: 2015 Edit
In series six, covering the year 1925, changes are once again afoot at Downton Abbey as the middle class rises and more bankrupted aristocrats are forced to sell off their large estates. Downton must do more to ensure its future survival reductions in staff are considered, forcing Barrow to look for a job elsewhere. Lady Mary defies a blackmailer, who is thwarted by Lord Grantham. With Branson's departure to Boston, Lady Mary becomes the estate agent. Edith is more hands-on in running her magazine and hires a female editor. Lady Violet and Isobel once again draw battle lines as a government take-over of the local hospital is considered.
Meanwhile, Anna suffers repeated miscarriages. Lady Mary takes her to a specialist, who diagnoses a treatable condition, and she becomes pregnant again. Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes disagree on where to hold their wedding reception, but eventually choose to have it at the schoolhouse, during which Tom Branson reappears with Sybil, having returned to Downton for good. Coyle, who tricked Baxter into stealing a previous employer's jewellery, is convicted after she and other witnesses are persuaded to testify. After Mrs Drewe kidnaps Marigold when Edith is not looking, the Drewes vacate Yew Tree Farm Daisy convinces Tom Branson to ask Lord Grantham to give her father-in-law, Mr Mason, the tenancy. Andy, a footman, offers to help Mr Mason so he can learn about farming, but Andy is held back by his illiteracy Mr Barrow offers to teach him to read.
Robert suffers a near-fatal health crisis. Previous episodes alluded to health problems for Robert his ulcer bursts and he is rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. The operation is successful, but Mary and Tom must take over Downton's operations. Larry Merton's fiancée, Amelia, encourages Lord Merton and Isobel Crawley to renew their engagement, but Lady Violet rightly becomes suspicious. Violet discovers that Amelia wants Isobel, and not her, to be Lord Merton's caretaker in his old age.  Daisy and Mr Molesley score high marks on their academic exams Molesley's are so exceptional that he is offered a teaching position at the school. Mary breaks off with Henry Talbot, unable to live with the constant fear he could be killed in a car race. Bertie Pelham proposes to Edith, but she hesitates to accept because of Marigold. Lady Violet, upset over Lady Grantham replacing her as hospital president, abruptly departs for a long cruise to restore her equanimity.
Bertie Pelham unexpectedly succeeds his late second cousin as 7th Marquess of Hexham and moves into Brancaster Castle Edith accepts him. Then Mary spitefully exposes Marigold's parentage, causing Bertie to walk out. Tom confronts Mary over her malicious behaviour and her true feelings for Henry. Despondent, Barrow attempts suicide, and is saved by Baxter, causing Robert and Mr Carson to let Barrow stay at Downton while he recovers and while he searches for new employment. Mary and Henry reunite and are married. Edith returns to Downton for the wedding, reconciling with Mary. Mrs Patmore's new bed and breakfast business is tainted by scandal, but saved when Robert, Cora and Rosamund appear there publicly to support her. Mary arranges a surprise meeting for Edith and Bertie with Bertie proposing again. Edith accepts. Edith tells Bertie's moralistic mother Miranda Pelham about Marigold she turns against the match, but is won over by Edith's honesty. Barrow finds a position as butler and leaves Downton on good terms, but he is unhappy at his new post.
Lord Merton is diagnosed with terminal pernicious anemia, and Amelia blocks Isobel from seeing him. Goaded by Lady Violet, Isobel pushes into the Merton house, and announces she will take Lord Merton to her house to care for him and to marry him – to his delight. Later, Lord Merton is correctly diagnosed with a non-fatal form of anemia. Robert resents Cora's frequent absences as the hospital president, but encouraged by Lady Rose he comes to admire her ability after watching her chair a hospital meeting. Henry and Tom go into business together selling used cars, while Mary announces her pregnancy. Molesley accepts a permanent teaching position and he and Miss Baxter promise to continue seeing each other. Daisy and Andy finally acknowledge their feelings Daisy decides to move to the farm with Mr Mason, her father-in-law. Carson develops palsy and must retire. Lord Grantham suggests Barrow return as butler, with Mr Carson in an overseeing role. Edith and Bertie are finally married in the series finale, set on New Year's Eve 1925. Lady Rose and Atticus return for the wedding. Anna goes into labour during the reception, and she and Bates become parents to a healthy son.
Film: 2019 Edit
King George V and Queen Mary were regular visitors to Yorkshire during the 1920s especially after the marriage of their only daughter Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles in 1922 and the birth of their first grandchild in 1923. The Royals visited every year to stay with them at their family homes of Goldsborough Hall 1922–1930 and later Harewood House. The Royals would often visit and stay with other Yorkshire estates whilst in the area or en route to their Scottish Estate of Balmoral.
The main cast of the Crawley family is led by Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and Elizabeth McGovern as his wife Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham. Their three daughters are depicted by Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley (Talbot), Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley (Pelham) and Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil Crawley (Branson). Maggie Smith is Robert Crawley's mother Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Samantha Bond portrays Lady Rosamund Painswick, Robert's sister who resides in Belgrave Square, London. Dan Stevens portrays Matthew Crawley, the new heir, along with Penelope Wilton as his mother, Isobel Crawley, who are brought to Downton. Allen Leech begins the series as Tom Branson, the chauffeur, but falls in love with Lady Sybil, marries her and later becomes the agent for the estate. David Robb portrays Dr Richard Clarkson, the local town doctor.
Joining the cast in series three is Lily James as the Lady Rose MacClare (Aldridge), a second cousin through Violet's family, who is sent to live with the Crawleys because her parents are serving the empire in India and, later, remains there because of family problems. In series three and four, Shirley MacLaine portrays the mother of Cora Crawley, Martha Levinson. Suitors for Lady Mary's affections during the series include Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, Julian Ovenden as Charles Blake, and Matthew Goode as Henry Talbot. Edith's fiancé and eventual husband Bertie Pelham, The 7th Marquess of Hexham, is played by Harry Hadden-Paton.
Downton Abbey's senior household staff are portrayed by Jim Carter as Mr Carson, the butler, and Phyllis Logan as Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper. Tensions rise when Rob James-Collier, portraying Thomas Barrow, a footman and later a valet and under-butler, along with Siobhan Finneran as Miss O'Brien, the lady's maid to the Countess of Grantham (up to series three), plot against Brendan Coyle as Mr Bates, the valet to the Earl of Grantham, and his love interest and eventual wife, Anna (Joanne Froggatt), lady's maid to Lady Mary. Kevin Doyle plays the unlucky Mr Molesley, valet to Matthew Crawley. Thomas Howes portrays William Mason, the second footman.
Other household staff are Rose Leslie as Gwen Dawson, a housemaid studying to be a secretary in series one. Amy Nuttall plays Ethel Parks, a maid, beginning in series two and three. Matt Milne joining the cast as Alfred Nugent, O'Brien's nephew, the awkward new footman for series three and four, and Raquel Cassidy plays Baxter, Cora's new lady's maid, who was hired to replace Edna Braithwaithe, who was sacked. Ed Speleers plays the dashing James (Jimmy) Kent, the second footman, from series three through five. In series five and six Michael C. Fox plays Andy Parker, a replacement footman for Jimmy. In series four, five, and six Andrew Scarborough plays Tim Drewe, a farmer of the estate, who helps Lady Edith conceal a big secret.
The kitchen staff includes Lesley Nicol as Mrs Patmore the cook, Sophie McShera as Daisy, the scullery maid who works her way up to assistant cook and marries William Mason. Cara Theobold portrays Ivy Stuart, a kitchen maid, joining the cast for series three and four.
Crawley family Edit
The series is set in fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house, which is the home and seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, along with their three daughters and distant family members. Each series follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, their friends, and their servants during the reign of King George V.
Gareth Neame of Carnival Films conceived the idea of an Edwardian-era TV drama set in a country house and approached Fellowes, who had won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) for Gosford Park. The TV series Downton Abbey – written and created by Fellowes – was originally planned as a spin-off of Gosford Park, but instead was developed as a stand-alone property inspired by the film, set decades earlier.  Although Fellowes was reluctant to work on another project resembling Gosford Park, within a few weeks he returned to Neame with an outline of the first series. Influenced by Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country,  Fellowes writes the scripts and his wife Emma is an informal story editor. 
Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens Loves English Ale, Window Seats
Last night we caught up with Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens at The Big British Invite, a tourism event sponsored by Visit Britain and British Airways (sorry, folks, it's already sold out). Dan's time on the Abbey may have come to end and he is sporting a dashing new haircut, but don't worry ladies, his classic British charm is all the same. Throughout the night he spilled on some of his favorite London spots like The Holly Bush pub in Hampstead, and confessed some personal British quirks about himself: He loves Wispa candy bars, dark chocolate Hob Nob cookies, locally brewed English ales, and whiskey from the Scottish Highlands. "There are many great ways to tour Great Britain," he said, "and alcohol is definitely one of them." Read on for more travel witticisms from the heir to Downton himself.
**"Window. I like gazing out at the clouds. The worst is those three bank seats though, and sometimes I'll think ⟚mn I wish picked the aisle!' but I usually go window."
What's in your carry-on?
"Notebooks. Not electronic devices. I like written notebooks. I like to write in the air. I mean, I like to write on the ground, too. But I really like writing in the air."
Any beauty products in your carry-on?
"Oh no, nothing like that. Maybe that's why I always arrive looking so dry and tired. Can you recommend any?"
One place to see in London?
"The South Bank. It's constantly regenerating itself. It's a cultural hub. It's changed a lot since I first visited there 10 to 15 years ago. But it's very vibrant and wonderful."
Well, there you have it. The very dapper wearer of tailcoats and lover of snow proposals is also an awesome British travel guide. Now if only we could get a private tour…
How True Is the Story Behind 'The Man Who Invented Christmas'?
'A Christmas Carol' took the formerly unpopular holiday to a new level.
Since opening last week, The Man Who Invented Christmas has grossed $1.8 million in ticket sales, leaving some moviegoers wondering just how much of the depicted tale around the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1843 book A Christmas Carol is true.
Obviously the film, which portrays Dickens (played by Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens) having full-on conversations with an imaginary Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), isn't meant to be a biopic. New York Times film critic Ben Kenigsberg calls it a "fanciful" take on reality in the vein of works like Shakespeare in Love. But the movie was adapted from the 2008 biography of the same name by historian Les Standiford.
The screen version begins with a 31-year-old Dickens, newly rich and famous, renovating his new home and wracking his brain to think of the next big project to continue funding his lifestyle. That much is correct: producer Robert Mickelson tells NPR the author was a "literary rock star" by the time he was 30, thanks to novels like Oliver Twist, originally published as monthly serials when Dickens was in his mid-20s.
Dickens' publishers initially balked at his idea of a story centered around Christmas&mdashthen a "second-rate holiday" associated with paganism in Great Britain, according to TIME&mdashbut the book's immediate success signaled the population's willingness to embrace the holiday spirit. (And replace their once-traditional Christmas dinner of goose with turkey, apparently.)
"Dickens had no notion of what the festival would become today, but he was clearly onto something," author Les Standiford told TIME. "He even went on to write four more Christmas books but none were even nearly as successful as A Christmas Carol."
One of the film's wildest depictions is the author's habit of seeing and speaking out loud to his invented characters. But this is actually not far from the truth: Dickens considered his invented personalities "the children of his fancy," said Susan Coyne, the writer who adapted Standiford's book for the film. "Even when he was not working, he'd feel them tugging on his sleeve saying 'time to get back to work.'"
Mickelson echoed the notion in his interview with NPR: "Dickens would. take on the voices of all the different characters and make these faces in the mirror, and almost become the characters as he's writing."
Standiford speculates that Scrooge, for example, was a "direct manifestation" from Dickens' estranged relationship with his father&mdasha man whose financial irresponsibility ensured his son spent an impoverished childhood working long hours in a shoe factory. Dickens never forgot where he came from.
Celeb Twitter dad: Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens @thatdanstevens
We love dads that tweet and we love Downton Abbey!
Celeb Twitter dad Dan Stevens (@thatdanstevens) just kicked off filming the new series of period drama Downton Abbey, which, BTW apparently has a HUGE mum following.
He is just finding his feet on twitter and is endeavoring to tweet more about daddyhood. His daughter Willow just turned 17-months-old and he says he’s often on nappy duty.
Dan would love some new mummy followers (he’ll follow you back). So go on make his day and tweet hello @thatdanstevens and while you are at it “like” his facebook page.
&ldquoA woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.&rdquo
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Downton Abbey returns to ITV September 22, 2013 and to PBS January 5, 2014
Episode 1 – Jan 5, 2014
Episode 2 – Jan 12, 2014
Episode 3 – Jan 19, 2014
Episode 4 – Jan 26, 2014
Episode 5 – Feb 2, 2014
Episode 6 – Feb 9, 2014
Episode 7 – Feb 16, 2014
Episode 8 – Feb 23, 2014
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Downton Abbey returns to ITV September 16, 2012 and to PBS January 6, 2013
Years earlier, Cora rescued Downton Abbey with her New World riches by marrying Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville). Now, New World and Old World are about to clash as Cora’s mother locks horns with Robert’s redoubtable mother, Lady Violet, played by Maggie Smith.
Last season closed with the reluctant heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), recovered from his war wounds and ready to tie the knot with the eldest of Lord and Lady Grantham’s daughters, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). Meanwhile, Mary’s youngest sister, Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), has eloped to Ireland with the political-minded chauffeur, Branson (Allen Leech), and is expecting a child.
A tantalizing glimpse ahead: Downton’s impeccable butler, Carson (Jim Carter), breaks in a new footman, who happens to be the nephew of the scheming lady’s maid O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran). Following Matthew and Mary’s engagement, Robert sticks to his duty to maintain Downton more firmly than ever — even as other great houses are crippled psychologically and financially in the wake of World War I.
In this changing landscape nothing is assured, and could it be that even the war-weary Crawleys must fight a new battle to safeguard their beloved Downton?
The Downton Abbey film could ALREADY be getting a sequel
The first Downton Abbey film hasn&rsquot even hit theatres yet, but it&rsquos believed that the period drama could be getting a sequel!
The first film is due to be released later this year and will continue on from the ITV show that ended in 2015.
However, it&rsquos been revealed that show creator, Julian Fellowes that they&rsquore already talking about a sequel!
So we&rsquore sure that the first film is going to be amazing.
We have no idea what the storyline will be about but most of the original cast have returned to the film.
He did reveal that there will be some type of happy ending in the film as he says that he hasn&rsquot culled any of the main cast.
Speaking to The Sun, he said, &lsquoI haven&rsquot killed off half the cast in a Coronation Street style crash so a follow-up is a definite possibility.&rsquo
This has certainly piqued our interest!
It was announced that a Downton Abbey film was in the works in 2016 and it was confirmed back in autumn a film was coming in September.
They wrote on the official Facebook page, &lsquoThe doors to Downton Abbey will open once more on Friday, September 20, 2019 in North America and Friday, September 13, 2019 internationally.
&lsquoBe sure to dust off your finery for our big screen debut.&rsquo
We still have six months to wait before we return to Downton but we CANNOT wait!
Tribeca: Talking ‘The Ticket’ With Star Dan Stevens, In the Oddest of All Interview Spaces
“I’m going to sit on the john&hellipOr would you like to sit on the toilet and I’ll sit on the floor?
That’s more gentlemanly.” Dan Stevens, English thespian/New York
transplant is a gentleman in all things, even when those things include the
unusual etiquette of an interview in a hotel bathroom. Moments before, he’d
gallantly surrendered the main room to his “The Ticket” co-star,
Malin Akerman. So as I was ushered into their shared press suite, Stevens shook
my hand then led me into its glistening bathroom. He was a proper host,
offering the sink to hold my jacket and purse and asking where I’d prefer to
sit. We settled with him perched Indian style in the snug shower, me just
outside on a folding chair provided by the helpful PR team.
Film festivals can be an endurance race streaked with strange
turns like this. But dapper Dan was clearly elated by the challenge.
He was double-fisting Starbucks, dressed in a casual cool jacket that looked
like the chic love child of a blazer and a cardigan, and wearing a jaunty
porkpie hat. “Very nice to meet
you,” he said settling in, “I’m basically wearing your top.” The
“Downton Abbey” star pulled up his pant leg to reveal his socks were
the same design as my sweater, purple and orange stripes. Clearly fate had led us to this moment in a frosted glass
shower stall. Fitting really as his Tribeca Film Festival feature,
“The Ticket,” is all about a strange twist of fate.
Stevens stars as James, a family man and office drone who
lived comfortably and happily despite having gone blind in his youth. Then one
morning he awakes, and miraculously can see. But with this sight awakens a new
drive and dissatisfaction with his wife (Akerman), job, and lifestyle that
could tear his life apart.
The drama plays like a modern parable, which led Stevens and I down
a discussion of religion, consumerism, and relationships as it relates to
“The Ticket.” He also shared some details on the nearly wrapped
“Beauty and the Beast,” Disney’s live-action remake of their iconic
animated fairy tale. But first, we talked about the Tribeca Film Fest and New
I feel like no one’s going to believe me when I say, “Yeah, I interviewed Dan Stevens in the shower today.”
It’s always the best kind.
You don’t have to mention anything else.
(Laughs) So, day four of
Tribeca. Have you done the full slog?
Yeah. And I’m like you, I live here in New York. So
it’s that thing where you don’t just have the festival. You have like life stuff.
(Briefly affects an American
accent) You have laundry to pick up and Seamless to order.
Exactly. It’s really like we had the same morning,
and it’s freaking me out a little bit.
(Laughs) But it’s fun! It’s
a lovely festival because it’s full of New Yorkers. It’s a very New York thing.
I love New York, so.
Yeah, you’ve lived here how many years now?
Do you consider yourself a New Yorker?
I mean, when does one become a New Yorker? I don&rsquot know. Some
people say five minutes. There’s that whole thing. Some people told me the fact
that we survived Hurricane Sandy made us New Yorkers. I don’t know if that’s
It’s a whole thing. When I first moved here, I was
told you have to live here ten years to be a New Yorker. But then I was told there
are special circumstances. Like if you’ve lived here through a crisis. Or if
you get mugged or hit by a cab, you’re really
a New Yorker.
If you get hit by a cab? Okay. Then, I’m not really
a New Yorker.
Have you not
yet been hit by a cab?
Not yet! Maybe I don’t want
to be a New Yorker. I’m sorry. I take it all back!
“The Ticket” plays like a modern
parable. Was that part of the draw for you?
That’s interesting. I
suppose it is. It’s something that came up a lot with Ido (Fluk, the
direct/co-writer), this sort of modern fable. Ido and I had both grown up in
fairly religious households and we certainly had been exposed to stories from
the Bible, as a lot of people have been growing up. And we talked about maybe
some people aren’t be exposed to that as much anymore, but I don’t think people
are seeking any less these big
questions of faith and belief and higher powers. That sort of thing is always
current and relevant. I think people are looking for them in different places
Anyway, Ido and I are
fascinated by questions of religion and faith and we both know extremely devout faithful people. We both know people who have
had crises of faith, and we know people who don’t. I know plenty of atheists. I
find them all fascinating. Anyway, I think that goes to say there is a sort of
bedrock of this film that is about that. It’s about prayer. It’s about mantra,
about repetition of words, like the script he has to deliver to his audience
when he’s trying to sell them this scheme.
It feels like a homily.
Right. It sort of begins and
you’re like, “Oh. This is a pretty good oration here. This guy has (snaps
fingers) got it down.” And then
you realize he’s basically saying the same words &ndash exactly the same words in some parts &ndash every time. We only see that
speech three times or something. You see bits of it, and it’s like, “Yeah,
I see where this is going.” It’s kind of not working out. And yet the
prayer that he has to himself, that he repeats, “I’m satisfied with my
life and everything in it.” Whether that’s a prayer or an extract from
“The Secret,” or whatever you want to call it, it’s just words that
he’s saying over and over again.
Now, that can have one of
many effects. And in James’s case, after many many years of this. He suddenly
regains his sight. It’s something his father had prayed for his entire life, is
now dead, never got to see. That has a very profound effect on James, and I
thought it was just a really interesting story. Just that story. You put on top of that the patient/carer relationship
between him and this wonderful, good
woman Sam (Akerman), who he’s been so dependent on all these years. And he
literally wakes up one day and he sees her for the first time. And it’s not
that she’s not beautiful.
Right! It’s that she doesn’t
fit the narrative in some way. He wakes up and he’s like, “Oh! It’s not
you. You feel better than look or you feel different than how you look. Or
you’re not the woman I thought I was
lying next to all these years, or something.”
And that’s painful to watch because you’re like, “But it’s Malin Akerman!
What are you doing?!” You know?
(Chuckles.) It’s just one of those things. We’ve all seen break-ups where somebody
just goes, “Nope.” It’s like a switch that goes off in someone.
Even with the fantastical element of him all of
sudden having sight, it speaks to that moment where someone wakes up and
realizes this isn’t the life that I want.
Exactly. I think that’s a
universal thing. The blind man has been an amazing cultural metaphor for thousands of years right? He’s always
the wise blind man, the man who can see something that we can’t despite having no vision. And so we sort
of want to look at James as we look at Bob (Oliver Platt, playing a more
caustic, complaining blind co-worker), he’s the wise sage. He has a slightly
kind of fool element to him.
Because he’s Oliver Platt!
It’s Oliver Platt! He’s so
lovable and funny and charming.
And that’s also his niche, either playing the wise
man, the fool or a mix of both.
Or both, right! Obviously
there are things he can’t do that everyone else can. But Bob sees straight through James. He sees right
through him, and he can chuckle his way through it ’cause he’s Bob. That’s what
made him such a great buddy. If you were blind, sat at a desk at a job all day,
having Bob sitting next to you is a godsend! But even Bob gets to James.
Something about him, suddenly having to look at him or something, that doesn’t
please him anymore. And he just becomes very dissatisfied. I think that’s what Ido was interested in, just sort
of tipping these stories on their head a bit, shaking up the sandbox, and
looking at things from a different angle really, not necessarily wanting to
lean too heavily in one direction. But take on these big questions, but I like
films that do that.
There’s a certain keep up with the Joneses or
Kardashians or the Crawleys element inherent to modern America. As someone who
has lived in the U.K. and the U.S., how does the culture of status and consumption
Well I grew up in a Britain
that was very influenced by American
culture. A huge percentage of our cultural digest came from here, from
television, movies, products and even some food stuffs. Not many, but some. So,
it’s funny. I was actually talking with some friends this week about the
election year coverage, and they were like, “Really, you follow the U.S.
election in the U.K.?” And like, yeah
like everybody does everywhere. Yeah. America is so vast and it’s so different. Britain is a tiny little island. It
behaves like it’s not. But it is.
It’s a tiny, very diverse, curious set of islands, really.
There’s big differences. I
think if you’re in a smaller community the pecking order is perhaps more
visible. There’s sort of vast trudges of the American system that we never get
to see, because they own several
thousand acres. They fly in on a helicopter and out again. We’ll never see
those people. But you know, they exist in this country because there’s space
for them. There’s the breadth of ambition and the room to roam, and all of that kind of thing. So there’s things on a
different scale here.
The two things that people
always talk about when they come back from America to England are the portion
sizes and the beds. There’s such big beds! We went to this motel, and the
bed &ndash let me tell you &ndash the bed was the
biggest I’d ever seen! And there were two
of them! And we got confused as to why there were two beds in a motel room,
but there you go. But yes, it’s a big, big country and people have big
ambitions here. And that’s sometimes admirable and sometimes it has its
But you know, there’s a lot
of drive, especially in a city like New York. People are very driven. It’s not
a city where you can really afford to slack off, certainly not anymore. It
chews people up. As is London actually. London is a machine, older with a few
more cogs spread out. I don’t know. I’m fascinated by both countries, both
cultures, both cities, London and New York.
Anyway, how did we get onto that? (Stares down at the shower drain
near his dress shoes) I’m just staring down this plug hole, and my conversation
is disappearing down it, I think.
What can you tell us about that?
I can tell you I’ve played
it pretty much. We’ve shot the majority of the movie. There’s some
extraordinary digital wizardry going on behind that.
So is your Beast a CGI creation or&ndash
Well, it’s a hybrid. I was
puppeteering a suit on stilts and the facial capture is done separately using
this technology called Nova, which is real pioneering stuff. We’re still doing
bits and pieces here and there, and just watching that emerge is really exciting. It feels like magic.
And you’re singing in it?
Did your wife (South African jazz singer Susie
Hariet) help you with that?
She did! Yeah, she coached
me for the audition. It was really exciting, really exciting. Not something
I’ve done a huge amount of&ndash (Malin Akerman slides open the bathroom’s door,
smiling.) Come and join us!
Malik Akerman: I’m just going to pee? Do you mind?
(Laughs) I’m joking. I’m
joking. (Exits, sliding the door closed behind her.)
is great. I’m going to do all my interviews in here. This is perfect.
So the critical success of “The Jungle
Book,” is that exciting or intimidating?
It’s only a good thing.
These movies, the technology they work, sometimes together. Sometimes it’s the
same people, sometimes its competitors, but they spur each other on. Sometimes
they are colleagues who try something out in one movie that they then use in
another, or another version of it. That stuff is developing so quickly so far
all the time, that I’m sure that by the time my kids are my age, they’ll look
at “Beauty and the Beast” and be like, “Huh, you did it like that?” But it was a thrilling
experience. And to get to take my kids on that set and show them all that stuffwas really special.
So is there much of a set? Because behind the scenes
of “The Jungle Book,” it was like a bit of set and then all CGI
Yeah, as much of it was
practical as possible. The sets were unbelievable.
The costumes were so so lush. And
that’s Bill Condon (“Beauty and the Beast”s director). He demands a
lushness and gorgeousness from his sets. And I was this sort of strange
creature striding through it all. But no, there were real ballrooms, real wings
of castles and staircases. It was amazing.
That sounds incredible. Have you seen “The
Not yet, I’ve been busy with
this one. I should take the kids actually, yeah. It’s a live-action remake of
the animated one?
Yes. But so much was built with green screen in CGI.
It looks so real I couldn’t believe they didn’t have real sets and real
That’s great. That’s what we
hope for with the Beast. He’s going to be as real as Emma Watson and Luke
Ticket” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Check out Stevens in the trailer for “The Guest,” embedded below:
This Article is related to: Features and tagged Dan Stevens, Interview, The Ticket, Tribeca 2016
Brit Movies: The Man Who Invented Christmas – Dan Stevens Stars as Charles Dickens
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It’s a bit odd that I haven’t heard anything about this movie until now. But now that I know it exists, I’m intrigued.
The Man Who Invented Christmas stars Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens. After a series his books have been flops, Charles Dickens decides to write and self-publish A Christmas Carol.
The rest, they say, is history.
I’m not sure how much of this is a true story. Stevens doesn’t really look like Dickens and the tone in this trailer seems a bit… off.
Directed by Bharat Nalluri and written by Susan Coyne from a book by Les Standiford, The Man Who Invented Christmas is a comedic, fantastical tale of Charles Dickens (played by Dan Stevens) desperately trying to come up with a story to make his publishers happy. Imagine being Dickens, who at 31 had already written Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Old Curiosity Shop (three of his biggest hits ever), and then to come up with a major case of writer’s block. You too might need a Christmas miracle.