What does the creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, have to say about some weighty issues of late, like the rape of Anna, the end of Downton Abbey and historical inaccuracies…
Farewell Dan Stevens...
Shock and awe surrounded the death of Matthew Crawley at the end of Season Three. At Downton Abbey Online, we certainly got our fair share of sad and angry letters. We gently reminded viewers that sometimes actors determine the plot of television shows, as was the case with the death of Matthew Crawley. The actor who played Matthew Crawley, Dan Stevens, wanted to leave the show and there was nothing Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes could do about it except write him out of the show.
Julian Fellowes explains that in America, it’s quite common for an actor to sign onto a series for five to seven years. In England, you can only sign an actor like Dan Stevens up for three years. Thanks to the success of Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens was offered opportunities too good to refuse and wanted out. Fellowes harbours no ill will against Stevens, remembering he did something very similar during his early theatre days in London.
But why was Matthew’s death so grisly?
If a servant actor wants to leave the show, Fellowes writes the script to include a job offer in Dublin or India, in the case of nasty O’Brien. But if a family actor wants to leave Downton Abbey’s cast, their exit must be final or it’s simply not believable. A family member like Matthew wouldn’t leave Downton for any other reason except death. And because Dan Steven’s exit in real life was final, there needed to be no doubt among viewers that he would return. Hence, the grisly final death scene.
Season 4 of Downton Abbey opens six months after Matthew’s death, after the shock wears off. Presumably, nobody really wants to see Mary grieve for an entire season. And halfway through the first episode, Mary changes out of her black clothes and feels some degree of closure. Mary decides to live without Matthew Crawley, and so do we…
Start your engines, Season 4 of Downton Abbey is on. What do we know about new and old characters? Sadly, O’Brien and her bangs left the building. O’Brien schemed herself right off the show. Shirley Maclaine is back to spar with Countess Violet. Branson brings on a nanny. And our favourite flapper cousin Rose is full time at Downton.
And fear not, Julian Fellowes has written some hunks into the new Season of Downton…
Julian Ovenden appears on Downton Abbey Season 4 as aristocrat Charles Blake. Will he make a play for single mom Lady Mary? Ovenden is also a singer, but no word on whether he'll be crooning for Lady Mary.
Lady Mary becomes a fashion icon
As far as leading ladies and lines go, Mrs. Patmore is the downstairs version of the Dowager when it comes to wit. Mrs. Patmore dispenses zingers along with her cooking, cutting to the heart of the issue every time. Daisy is usually the object of her sharp tongue, but Mrs Patmore spares no one as she delivers her own flavour of commentary.
Downton Abbey is filmed at Highclere Castle