Michelle Dockery says her Downton Abbey role made her feel ‘more powerful’

Actor reprised her role as Lady Mary Crawley for the latest Downton Abbey film sequel.

Downton Abbey: Official movie trailer released

Michelle Dockery has said playing a “strong” and “fantastic” lead in Downton Abbey from a young age helped her feel “more powerful”.

The 40-year-old actor was aged 26 when she landed the role of Lady Mary Crawley in the period drama. Dockery recently reprised the character for the cinematic sequel in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Speaking on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast, Dockery said: “Downton certainly gave me a lot of confidence and I think that also came from the character because she is such a strong and a fantastic character to play and there is a sort of confidence that those women of that time had.

“I think that certainly helped me to feel more powerful definitely… I feel very lucky that Downton gave me that sort of anchoring from a very young age really.”

The actress explained that she was living with three other girls in what felt like a “student house” when she auditioned for the role.

She said she knew Downton would be a “big deal” as Julian Fellowes had created it and the talent already attached to the show included Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith.

Dockery said she had been “anticipating disappointment” after her audition as she had missed out on other parts she wanted. She said that when her agent told her she had the part, “I had to take a minute and sit down. You know, when I look back, it was life changing at that moment.

“We never would’ve dreamed it would become the phenomenon the show has become and that 12 years later I’d be sitting here and we’d still be talking about it.”

Michelle Dockery, centre, with Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael all reprised their roles for Downton Abbey: A New Era (Ian West/PA)

Downton Abbey ran on ITV from 2010 to 2015, following the fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their downstairs servants at a Yorkshire country estate.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

It later returned to the big screen in 2019, with the first film focusing on a royal visit to the Crawley family and Downton staff.

The latest movie sees the beloved characters embark on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa as they try to escape a film crew at Downton.

Dockery described returning to the franchise as like “going back home” to a family.

She added: “We are just delighted every time we get to get back together, put on those costumes and shoes again, and sort of slip into very familiar territory, which is quite rare for an actor to be able to go back (and) keep going back to something.

“A lot of the time you are saying goodbye to something and then you are moving on to something quite quickly, a new group of people, a new territory, a different country.

“But whereas with this, it’s like when Downton comes along, it’s like ‘Oh, I know this, I know it so well and it makes it really easy actually just to step back into it’.”

Dockery said that learning her lines for Downton was “easy” as she knows the character so well. But for her recent role as a criminal barrister in the new series Anatomy Of A Scandal, she had to say her lines “in her sleep” in order to remember them.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in