Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael, feels sorry for legendary director Sir Peter Hall after he ruins her West End début by heckling!

by Anna Howell

Downton Abbey star, Laura Carmichael admits that not only feeling embarrassed after legendary theatre director, Sir Peter Hall heckled her début West End performance, but also feels “really bad” for him too!

Laura, who plays Lady Edith Crawley in the award-winning ITV period drama, was staring in Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End, when Sir Peter Hall, who was in the audience, reportedly shouted ‘stop’ during the final scene, causing those nearby him to miss the ending.

As mortifying as being heckled by such a theatre giant on your first night performance would be, Laura has forgiven Sir Peter according her friend and Downton co-star, Joanne Froggatt.

Froggatt, who plays ladies maid, Anna Bates in the hot ITV show, has reportedly commented to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “She just felt really bad for him. It must be so embarrassing.”

Froggatt, whose character fans saw reunited with her wrongly imprisoned husband, Bates, during the last series which ended last Sunday, went on to say how she was impressed with her friend’s stiff upper lip approach to the matter, adding:

“I spoke to her after the play, and she was totally fine about it,”

Sir Peter Hall

Meanwhile Sir Peter, who admits to bellowing “stop, stop, stop” from his seat in the third row of the stalls during Laura’s performance, has revealed that he has written to Laura to apologise for his actions, despite saying at the time: “It doesn’t work and you don’t work. It is not good enough. I could be at home watching television.”

According to the publication, Sir Peter has now apologised for his actions, and tried to excuse himself with age, adding: “I am mortified that I unintentionally disrupted the final scene,” he said. “I enjoyed the evening, and her performance, immensely and I cannot stress too strongly that my remarks were in no way directed at her or the production.

“Being rather aged, I dropped off for a moment and, on being woken by my wife, I was briefly disorientated.

“Remarks made in the resulting confusion were not in any way related to Uncle Vanya, which I think is a very fine production with a marvellous company of actors.”

Froggatt went on to sympathise with her friends embarrassment, explaining that she had been through similar experiences herself: “I was doing a play a while ago and this man started snoring really loudly in the audience,” she says. “Another time, someone was making pig noises. It was unbelievable, but it happens – it’s just part of the job.”

Watch Laura along with her on-screen mother, Elizabeth McGovern, discussing the success of Downton Abbey in the clip below:

Downton Abbey returns to ITV for an out of series, season special on Christmas day!