Downton Abbey begins airing its sixth and last season January 3 on PBS. Ahead of the final episodes, Vulture asked some of the cast to reflect on how their characters have changed over the years, their earliest memories on set, and why the show has been such a runaway success in the U.S. Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley) Do you remember your first day on the Downton Abbey set? My first memory is the first time I worked with Maggie [Smith]. We did a scene in which she's decrying the advent of electricity in the house. I think in the stage direction it said, "She shields her eyes from the light and says, Oh, it's like being on stage at the Gaiety Theater." But she didn't just shield it with her hand, she pulled out a fan and then held it there for the entire scene, which was just hilarious. I thought, I see, I see. That's what it's going to be like. She's going to steal every single scene. What has been the biggest change for your character, and how did it affect your understanding of him? The great strength of Julian Fellows is writing let's remember we have one writer on this show, not a team. He knows all of these characters better than anyone. So when Robert started going off the rails a bit in the second series, and his desire was drawn to the maid because he felt that his status in the house was being undermined, lots of people were throwing bricks at the TV, saying, "Robert wouldn't do that. But human beings are human beings, so what I've enjoyed is seeing those ebbs and flows of expectation in the character. You think you've gotthe characters. You think you've got them soused, and then they do something that surprises you. People may have loathed Thomas he's the baddie they love to hate. Then, as the series goes on, you begin to understand where these barbs and arrows come from. With Robert, sometimes I've been frustrated that he's become a complete dinosaur, his IQ seems to drop through the floor, and he's incrediblyinsensitive. Then there will always be something that is redemptive, and you think, he's not so bad after all. I love that because if you just played the same beat all the time, he would be very dull. He's ultimately a good man. I think that's true of all the characters: They are all trying to do good even if they do wrong things. Do you think the fans are going to find this final season satisfying? I think so, because one of the main tones of the final season is about the end of an era, and that's indicated by the estate itself. It's brought home in the first episode, when we learn about a neighbor of ours, a landowner, having to sell. We actually go to the house, and it's really brought home to Robert and the family that this is happening around us. It's happening to one of our friends, and he's literally selling the family silver because he didn't manage the estate properly. It's a wake-up call for Robert and Mary: It's adapt or die, as has happened to so many big estates in Britain in that era, after the second World War, particularly. It's the sense of things coming to an end. Having to downsize the staff, the house beginning to shut down. Will they survive? Will they have to sell, too? Time to say good-bye to some characters. There is a sense of farewell, but in a good, dramatic way. Why do you think Downton broke through so much, particularly in the United States? No idea. I genuinely didn't think it would travel. I thought it was so quintessentially British, and it's about such minutiae of social interaction, and British social interactions. Maybe that's part of the reason, actually. If you create something that's true to itself, and has an intrinsic sense of authenticity, then it doesn't matter if it's set in space or under the sea. If you believe the world and you believe the characters, and you care about their interaction, and you have story lines that engross you, then you're some of the way there. But then add to that extremely good production values, a very well-cast show, and that amazing, most important ingredient of all: luck. What were your favorite moments to shoot? We all love filming at Anet Castle, which is where we shot some of the season finale last year, and we shot some scenes there this year. The people there were just so amazingly generous with their time. And the vistas up there are astonishing. Particular scenes, I don't know. I've always loved the scenes with my daughters. When you have father-daughter moments, they are all quite special. How do you move on from something as iconic as Downton Abbey ? I don't want to sound cynical, but I've been a jobbing actor for 25 years. This show happens to have been an extraordinary adventure for all of us. And then I go back to being a jobbing actor.
Downton Abbey is downsizing in its final season. The fading days of the aristocracy and the looming economic crisis that resulted in the Great Depression will literally change the look of the show this season, cast members revealed on a recent visit to New York. You just won't see that grand scale legion of servants... http://nypost.com/2015/12/29/downton-abbey-cast-talks-about-closing-the-door-on-final-season/
Get a look at the set of "Wonder Woman," courtesy of an intrepid fan on location. http://www.hitfix.com/harpy/leaked-video-from-wonder-woman-set-looks-more-like-downton-abbey
The drama ends its run on ITV with its biggest Christmas ratings in years, but overall TV viewing in Britain on the day continues to slide. http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/thr/television/~3/qyfKAwGB7GM/story01.htm
Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countesson Downton Abbey , still hasnt seen any of the show even as the final season is set to premiere in the U.S. next week. The actress told CBS News two years ago that she hadnt seen any of Downton , and the news outlet asked again... http://feeds.ew.com/~r/entertainmentweekly/tv/coverage/~3/d8GPjRNa1eg/downton-abbey-maggie-smith-dowager-countess
Downton Abbey has already come to its regular season conclusion in the UK, with Season 6 wrapping on ITV in November and a final finale set to bid farewell to the Grantham Estate, both upstairs and down, on Christmas Day. In the U.S., PBS Masterpiece will kick off Season 6 on January 3 and conclude the Crawley familys last run in March. Executive producer Gareth Neame and creator Julian Fellowes have often told me they credit the U.S. with helping to launch the shows http://deadline.com/2015/12/downton-abbey-final-season-gareth-neame-matthew-goode-1201670999/
EW subjects Lady Mary, Mr. Molesley, and Branson to America's filthiest card game... http://feeds.ew.com/~r/entertainmentweekly/tv/coverage/~3/2rkngHEsxQ4/downton-abbey-cards-against-humanity
Gordon Ramsay is f**king perfect to play Santa. He's the jolliest f**king Santa that you will ever get to f**king meet. Too bad he's the only one who thinks so. In a new video promoting ITVs annual Text Santacharityevent, Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), and... http://feeds.ew.com/~r/entertainmentweekly/tv/coverage/~3/04TaZtWnypU/downton-abbey-gordon-ramsay-auditions-santa-charity-sketch
The final episode of Downton Abbey 's six-season run well outperformed the competition last night on what was an overall slow Christmas evening for UK TV viewing. Downton s farewell scored 6.9M viewers for a 28.6 share on ITV in the overnights; a figure that will see a big bump in L+7s. British television is generally packed with specials and favorite series on Christmas Day, but this was the lowest-rated December 25 since 2009. Delayed viewing is of course a factor, as... Read More...
If you've been knocking around the theater world as long as I have, you're bound to come across a Maggie Smith story. Here's my favorite: During the 1990 run of Lettice and Lovage at the Barrymore, the Harlem Gospel Singers moved into the Longacre, which shared the Barrymore's back wall. Smith was livid because the... http://nypost.com/2015/12/17/biting-brittle-bitchy-new-bio-reveals-the-magic-of-maggie-smith/