Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has revealed how she retains her anonymity when she is confronted by the show’s fans.

The British actress, 32, has shot to fame on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to her role in the period drama as Lady Mary.

When she is recognised in the US, Michelle sometimes pretends she is ‘rich Britney, from Beverly Hills’, who happens to look just like Lady Mary.

“It’s a silly spoof, but it passes the time. We’re always sending ourselves up,” she told Radio Times.

Michelle said of fans approaching her: “I find it quite easy to accept now, although at first I was nervous of complete strangers coming over and wanting to talk.

“Sometimes they want selfies, and I’ve said no occasionally, although you don’t have to be rude. There’s a time and place….But,” she added, “there aren’t many disadvantages to being in a show like this.”

Last month the ITV drama suffered disappointment at the Emmys despite being nominated for several awards.

But Michelle told the magazine: “An audience is the main thing, not awards.”

Meanwhile, her co-star Lily James, 25, said she had shrugged off negative comments made by internet trolls after she was cast as Lady Rose.

“I was surprised people had an opinion about me, but now I don’t want to engage with that stuff. The internet is not a real person, so why would you want to read it? I did at first, but quickly got over it,” she said.

The actress, who is dating former Doctor Who star Matt Smith, added: “Some actors don’t care, but I like to keep my private life separate, although if I’m photographed with my boyfriend I can’t control that.”