Downton Abbey star Jim Carter was in the dog house for flirting with Shirley MacLaine on-set!

by Lynn Connolly

As fans of Downton Abbey star Jim Carter – who plays stuffy butler Carson – may know, he’s married to actress Imelda Staunton, who it seems was unimpressed when Jim flirted on the set of Downton with legendary US actress, Shirley MacLaine.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror about the forthcoming new series of Downton, which of course debuts this Sunday on ITV, Jim revealed that he’s had a lifelong crush on Shirley, who plays the role of feisty American Martha Levinson.

He said, “I had a big crush on Shirley. What a babe! She was a cracking dame.

“And yeah, we flirted, I loved her. She would sit around and natter – she had no status or anything like that, she was completely open.

“Who else can tell stories about Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra? My wife was as jealous as old boots.”

Jim and Imelda – who’s had innumerable TV, film and stage roles including playing the part of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies – have been married for 29 years, and of his marriage, Jim said, “We make each other laugh [and] we’ve worked pretty equally and that helps.

“Inequality puts an enormous strain on relationships.”

The couple have a daughter Bessie, who’s 18, and Jim revealed that the whole family sits down to watch Downton together.

He remarked, “My wife is a big fan of Downton Abbey. We love to sit down as a family on a Sunday night and watch it together.

“I think that’s nice because an 18-year-old’s not going to let you watch many programmes with her.”

Next, Jim revealed that despite the enormous success of Downton Abbey, he often wonders how long its writer Julian Fellowes can keep the period drama going.

He said, “Its natural life span is changing because Julian’s original concept was to do three series, one before the war, one during the war and one after the war.

“You can only string that out so many times I would have thought, but then I’m not Julian.

“He has a very big brain, so he can probably keep it going for ever. Downton Abbey 1990.

“Downton Abbey is a health spa, Carson is running the Botox salon.”

The paper adds, “The second series got stick from critics because of the more ludicrous plots, but Jim insists the third run marks a return to form.”

He said, “The second series took on a lot, because of the war you had to go to the trenches and then you brought all these people into the convalescent home that Downton became.

“I think Julian did gallop along on a little bit. How are Mrs Hughes and Carson and how are Lady Mary and Matthew? That is what people really wanted.”

As mentioned, series three of Downton Abbey begins on Sunday at 9pm on ITV1. I cannot wait!

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.