With filming for the much-anticipated fourth series of the epic ITV period drama, Downton Abbey, due to begin next week, reports have come out suggesting that there may be a new love interest on the cards for recently widowed Lady Mary Crawley.
Fans of the phenomenon drama will know how during last year’s Christmas special Lady Mary’s husband, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) was killed in a tragic car crash, moments after meeting his first son and heir.
Despite the criticism of this storyline and comparisons made between it and the sudden death of Lady Sybil (Jessica Findlay-Brown) the series before it, the decision to kill of such a pinnacle character was out of the production teams hands as Dan Stevens, who played Matthew, had decided not to renew his contract with the hit show to embark on a career in America, where Downton has gathered a huge following also.
As explained by the shows creator, Julian Fellowes, had a member of the kitchen staff wanted to leave it would have been much easier to incorporate into the story without tragedy but, given the circumstances above serving quarters, the only way Matthew could leave the show realistically was to join Lady Sybil in the family crypt, leaving a heartbroken Mary to rebuild her life from the pieces this tragedy left it in.
However, all may not be doom and gloom for the alpha-female!
As Downton executive producer Gareth Neame promised earlier this month, Downton is set to take the viewer in a different direction when it picks up again in series four, and according to the Daily Mail newspaper one twist we may find is that Lady Mary doesn’t stay heartbroken for very long!
According to the paper casting directors at the award-winning drama have auditioned dozens of candidates for a new suitor for Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), which does defuse the rumours that the script would see her end up with her widowed brother-in-law, Tom Branson (Allen Leech).
However, despite the many, many candidates applying for the job, it seems that they are having a hard time finding someone to fit the bill, with a production source commenting to the paper:
“Some were too dark, some too blond, some too bland — though a couple have been put on a shortlist that the producers and creative people will discuss,
“The main criteria for him is that he should be posh — and pretty.”
This report has been backed somewhat by Gareth Neame himself, who told the publication that the fourth series will be dominated by Mary’s story, explaining: “Mary’s a catch, and her story will be the spine of the next series,”
Whilst Julian Fellowes added: “She’s very beautiful, but she still has an absolute sense of control, power and brain work”
Whether Mary falls for the charms of her new suitor is said to be down entirely to whoever is cast and whether the characters gel together on screen. If it doesn’t seem likely then the search for a new man will continue, and may stretch to America!
So, if Dan Stevens plight across the pond doesn’t work out the way he expected, there may well be a way back for him after all!
Watch Michelle Dockery who plays lady Mary n the Jonathan Ross show in the clip below: