Downton Abbey is back on ITV for its third run on Sunday, 16 September, and ahead of the eagerly anticipated return, Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, has been talking to What’s On TV about what’s ahead for his character.
And of course, the big Matthew news is that he’s to marry Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) in series three.
So when he was asked, “Could you compare [the wedding] to Kate and Will’s nuptials?” Dan replied, “I guess you can compare them in the sense that Mary and Matthew are trying to secure the future of the establishment.
“But I don’t think there were quite as many people at our wedding as there were at Kate and Will’s!”
Dan went on to explain that Matthew will ask former chauffeur Tom Branson (Allen Leech) to be his best man, which is a decision that will raise eyebrows in the Grantham household. Branson of course married Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) in series two, and the couple are now expecting their first child…
Of Matthew’s request to Branson, Dan said, “Matthew likes to champion the underdog, so he asks Branson to be best man to try and help him enter the family fold.
“They do become great mates – in fact I’d say their friendship becomes a full-on bromance!”
However, Dan added that between Matthew and Mary, there will still be some “drama” in store.
He said, “There’s still plenty of drama to unsettle the relationship as Mary and Matthew have some difficulties thrown in their path.
“People have been asking ‘Will they, won’t they’ for such a long time.
“Now, if they do tie the knot, the questions they will face are will they be happy, will they have children and will they become Lord and Lady Grantham?”
Next, when asked, “How does this series compare to the last?” Dan remarked, “The scale of this series is different…
“It’s very much back to what I enjoyed about the first series, which is the domestic scale of the drama, both big and small.
“Big things such as will the estate survive? Or will someone come out? And small-scale dramas like is there a hole in this shirt? Or do we have enough flour?”
Dan was then asked what it had been liked working with US acting legend Shirley MacLaine, who of course plays the role of snooty socialite Martha Levinson.
He said, “Oh, she had a fantastic energy and was a really exciting person to talk to. She knows how to hold an audience, but she’s a very good listener too.
“She seems very engaged with politics in America and how we’re going to solve various crises facing our planet. She’s pretty tuned in.”
And finally, when asked if he watches the show himself, he replied, “[Yes] I often get my mates over to watch it, actually.
“Downton’s got thrills, spills, bitchy moments and plenty of shocks, so it’s a nice drama to watch with a group of friends and a glass of wine.”
Indeed it is! Here are the show’s trailers for series three…