It’s 1924 as ITV’s multi-award-winning drama returns for a fifth series and change is afoot at Downton Abbey.
In an interview with What’s on TV Michelle Dockery reveals what’s in store for Lady Mary who, among other things, will enjoy a thrilling love triangle with Charles Blake and Lord Gillingham!
What excitement is in store for Lady Mary in the new series of Downton Abbey?
“She’s got a kind of love triangle going on! Mary’s really in a new chapter and moving on with her life. She’s now out of mourning for Matthew and enjoying life a bit more and embracing the social changes of the time. It’s a really fun series for Mary!”
Suitors Charles Blake and Lord Gillingham are both vying for her hand in marriage. Why can’t she make up her mind?
“It’s not a decision she wants to make quickly. Whichever man Mary chooses will have to take on a lot of responsibility for Downton and her son, George, so she can’t be flippant in her romantic decisions.”
One of Mary’s beaux is interested in getting to know her more intimately. What can you tell us?
“Mary’s complex! She decides to give it a shot with one of them. As much as she takes a risk and wants to experience things, what comes out of it is a lot of regret…”
The rise of the Labour party makes her father Robert, the Earl of Grantham, and his old-fashioned butler Mr Carson most uneasy. Is Mary more open to the changes of the time?
“Things like that don’t scare Mary. She’s like ‘bring it on!’ Mary’s very resilient and tells her father to wait and see what happens before they panic. I love that about her – she lives in the moment. She’s practical when it comes to thinking about the future for George, but she doesn’t let things that are out of her control bother her. She likes tradition, but she also embraces change.”
Now Mary’s feeling like her old self, are she and her sister, Lady Edith, back to their sparring ways?
“Yes, they’re back in full flow! When they were grieving for Matthew, Mary and Edith were more civil towards each other. Now Mary has her witty spike back. Laura Carmichael and I get quite excited about those scenes – we find them hilarious. Though sometimes we find it hard to keep a straight face, because it’s hard to be mean to one of your best mates!”
Why do you think Mary is so loved by Downton Abbey fans?
“When Downton Abbey begun initially Mary was this very spoiled young aristocrat. Then the incident with the Turkish diplomat happened and suddenly the audience saw an unexpected vulnerability to the character. She’s complex and human. She makes mistakes and isn’t always kind – and we love that!”
Watch the first fiery episode of the new series of Downton Abbey when it screens on ITV this Sunday at 9pm