From series creator Julian Fellowes:
“It is really about that moment after a crash when you feel your body to see how many bones are broken. I think society was going through that in 1919 and 1920 – just how much of the old life was coming back? Were people prepared to do those jobs? How much more money were they going to want and so on? You had some people thinking that the old ways were probably over and others thinking things didn’t seem to be as different as all that.”
Actress Shirley MacLaine on her character Martha Levinson:
“She is extremely outspoken. Martha’s basic role in these episodes is to plead with the Dowager Countess to wrest herself, if possible, away from tradition. Because that’s what caused the war in the first place. And to become more flexible in relating to change.”
Actress Laura Carmichael on Lady Edith:
“She has this feeling that both her sisters are going to leave her and have an independent existence. She doesn’t want to be stuck on the shelf and she doesn’t want to be stuck living with her parents for the rest of her life. So many men of her generation were killed in the war that the fact Sir Anthony is older seems neither here not there. And she strikes me as somebody that has always wanted to be at the adult’s table, so to speak: she likes to be the mature one, the one that tells everybody off for being silly. It suits her. So I think she really does love Sir Anthony and thinks it will make her very happy.”
Actress Siobhan Finneran on O’Brien:
“I love her. She is funny and witty, also I think a lot of the time what gets misconstrued as being rude or unhelpful in a lot of ways is her making sure jobs are done properly. Yes she is cruel and all of those things but also a lot of things she will does are for the good of the house, and for the good of the whole of the staff. I love her because she is not backwards at coming forwards about saying something. I admire that quality in a lot of people in real life.”
Actor Jim Carter on Mr. Carson:
“With the house being taken over as a convalescent home it was pretty chaotic so now I am trying to re-staff it with proper footmen and the proper amount of maids and everything. However, these are slightly more economically straitened times after the war. Some of the younger staff are all trying to say, ‘Well, do we really have to go back to the old ways?’ I insist that we have to.”
Actress Lesley Nicol on Mrs. Patmore:
“You see Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore more in a relationship than they have been before. They started a bit at loggerheads and yet she becomes her mate really. To have scenes with somebody of a similar age is different, yes. It is nice to play. That’s what is lovely about Julian’s writing. He recognises that people are more than one thing and he develops them, gives them lots of layers, like we all have.”
Actor Brendan Coyle on Mr. Bates:
He’s very much in isolation from everyone else. And he’s getting bullied a bit. He’s pushed and provoked by people in prison who have taken against him.”
Actress Michelle Dockery on Lady Mary:
“As much as that angst between Matthew and Mary was enjoyable to play, I must say it’s lovely now to be finally settled in some ways. Of course, like all marriages it’s not completely perfect. Let’s just say they have their teething problems at the beginning.”
“I guess she becomes a woman in the third series. The way it’s written it feels that even though Mary maintains that pragmatic side to her – which can be quite bossy at times - she’s really grown up. That’s highlighted in Edith and Mary’s relationship. I think it’s fair to say that things have softened between them. They look out for each other a little more. Of course, they still disagree on things, like sisters do. But Mary is a little more mature now.”
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