Elizabeth McGovern has revealed that the Downton Abbey fans who come to watch her folk band play are often rather surprised by their sound.

The actress, who plays stately lady of the manor Cora, in the hit period drama, is the lead singer with Sadie and the Hotheads, and she told TV Times that since she made her debut in Downton, the band has gathered a new following.

“I look out at the audience and there are all these people with Downton Abbey books to be signed. They’re look puzzled by our music, they probably expect a string quartet! But by the end they are happily singing along,” she laughs.

In recent years, Elizabeth’s band has gone from strength to strength.

“Downton has created new opportunities for the band,” she says. “We opened for Sting at a jazz festival, I would never imagined I would be doing that at 53! Then we toured this year with Mike and the Mechanics while we were doing Downton, so I filmed as Cora by day and then I had to tear off my wig to become Sadie by night. I go a bit burnt out, but it was fun.”

But would she give up acting to go on the road for good?

“I’d love it, but it’s a rough business to make a go of and very expensive,” she says. “I don’t really want to be rock star, but music is my happy place.”