The Downton Abbey Movie

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of November 11, 2019

Recently, I finally managed to see Downton Abbey on the big screen. If you did too, what did you think? It was nice to see Tom Branson getting so much screen time don’t you think?

Tea Time Tidbit

The Downton Abbey Movie

According to Allen Leech, who played the former chauffeur, his character was initially only meant to appear in three episodes. He was also meant to be from Yorkshire not Ireland. But when Leech read for the role and asked if he should use a Yorkshire accent, Julian Fellowes said he might be going a different route and asked him to read in his own Irish accent.

Tom Branson eventually became a fixture in Downton, even after Sybil’s death. It might surprise you to learn that Fellowes had originally planned for Sybil to have married Matthew Crawley. Instead, Matthew married Mary, and the rest as they say is history.

Jessica Brown Findlay, the actress who played Lady Sybil, had never intended to stay with the series for more than three years, so plans for her departure were no doubt in the works since the start of the series. Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley, on the other hand didn’t decide to leave until after the second series – the one where Matthew was paralyzed in the war, then makes a miraculous recovery.

Tea Time Tidbit

Dan Stevens

Both Sybil and Matthew are still sorely missed, but the actors who played those characters immediately went onto other things. For the last couple of years, Brown Findley has been starring in an another period drama series called Harlots, which recently completed its third series. She’s also appeared in a couple of feature films. Stevens has also been in several films, and has made several stage appearances.

The stage was actually responsible for our not seeing an awful lot of Mr. Bates in the Downton film. When filming of the movie was taking place, Brendan Coyle, who plays Bates, was performing in a one man show in Chicago. He then went directly to the West End to star alongside David Suchet in a revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price. Fortunately, he had a good double to stand in for him in the long shots we see in the film.

Before Downton Abbey Coyle starred as Robert Timmins in the first three series of Lark Rise to Candleford and you can see that show weekday afternoons at 3pm on Afternoon Tea.

If you’ve seen the Downton Abbey film, drop me a line and let me know what you think:

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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