Devastated by the tragic death of her husband Matthew in a car crash, and left a widow with their baby George, Lady Mary begins this new, fourth series of Downton Abbey in mourning.
It’s six months after the accident, but while everyone else in the Crawley family is beginning to move on with their lives, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) remains under a dark cloud, refusing to bond with her baby.
And there’s more trouble to come for Mary in series four of the hit period drama, which also stars Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Dame Maggie Smith, Samantha Bond, Joanne Froggatt and Rob James-Collier. Here, Michelle tells us more...
Were you surprised by the strong reaction to Matthew’s death?
He was a really well-loved character and Dan was such a wonderful part in the show, so I think it was inevitable that viewers were really shocked and angry. I guess they felt that they’d invested a lot in Matthew and Mary.
Did you feel that was the only way they could have been separated?
I think so, because being the heir he couldn’t very well have disappeared never to return. That last episode was heartbreaking, even though I knew it was coming.
In her depression, is Mary quite detached from George?
Yes. She finds it difficult to bond with the baby at first because he just reminds her of Matthew. Mary is quite practical. I think she’ll be a good mother, but she won’t be an incredibly maternal one. Of course, she has a nanny so she’s not exactly a struggling single mum!
Have you enjoyed working with the baby on set?
We use twins because when one starts fading you have to get the other one in. They are really gorgeous and very, very good. I haven’t had a baby being sick on me yet!
But apparently the babies weren’t the only distraction on set?
Oh, we’ve all been playing Bananagrams, which is a bit like Scrabble. Tom Cullen brought it with him and we all love it. It keeps your brain alive between set-ups. Maggie’s very good, and so is Laura Carmichael. I have good days and bad days.
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