Elizabeth McGovern: ‘Cora is open to the charms of someone else in Downton!’

Elizabeth McGovern reveals Lady Cora may be flirting with disaster when Richard E Grant joins the ranks of famous Downton Abbey guest stars this Sunday on ITV…

Can you tell us what’s in store for Cora this year?
“We continue with the theme established early on that this is a changing world. All the characters deal with that in different ways. And in some ways that creates a wedge between Cora and her husband Robert. He’s invested in the world staying the same and she gets annoyed by that.”

Is their marriage under threat?
“There are times in the marriage when Cora feels overlooked, and it creates tension. It makes her open to the charms of someone else!”

Richard E Grant turns up at Downton Abbey as suave art historian Simon Bricker. Will he turn Cora’s head?
“We’ll see! You find out a bit more about Cora. Cora’s open to new ideas and she’s changing herself. The marriage will be challenged! People change – and that’s when the show gets really interesting.”

How was it working with Richard E Grant?

“Richard and I are old friends. We’ve worked together before on The Scarlet Pimpernel, and had a really good laugh working on Downton. Cora and Simon connect because they both share a passion for art. It gives her a different dimension from just being a mother and Robert’s wife!”

Is it easy to slip back into the role of Cora?
“Yes, it becomes easier after all these years. There’s a shortcut you don’t have when doing a new project because you know a lot about the character to start with. It’s a luxury and lets you dig deeper and go further.”

Watch Withnail & I star Richard E Grant’s first Downton Abbey appearance on ITV, Sunday 27th September at 9pm.