Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery tells David Letterman “I come from a working class background”

by Lynn Connolly

As Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary Crawley, Michelle Dockery is the very essence of the quintessential English rose…

Poised, well spoken and from a privileged background, nobody would ever associate Lady Mary, or Michelle, with Essex, but as Michelle told David Letterman on his US talk show, that’s where she’s from and has a distinctly working class background.

She said, “I come from a very working class background, so my family would’ve been downstairs in the past. People are often surprised to hear I’m not actually posh.”

And of her training in the world of acting, Michelle said, “I went to a stage school three times a week that was in a church hall at the end of my street, my parents were very encouraging and could see from an early age that I wasn’t going to be a doctor…

“I was doing Margaret Thatcher impressions from the age of five!”

Michelle went on to reveal that she auditioned for numerous roles before she landed the part of Lady Mary in Downton, but of the show’s run away success, she said, “It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of such a phenomenon.

“I think the success of Downton is partly because there are effectively 18 leading characters, all given equal importance, so it’s enormously involving on many levels.

“But also, it’s a new story. It’s not like Dickens or Austen, where everyone knows the denouement; this is a story that feels terribly immediate, despite the period setting.

“The first series set out the characters, now each of us is just running with our plot.”

Viewing figures for Downton peaked at 11.6 million in the UK last year, which made it the most successful ITV costume drama since Brideshead Revisited enjoyed similar success thirty years ago.

Now that makes me feel old… I remember Brideshead vividly!

Anywho, here’s a clip of Michelle on Letterman…

The third series of Downton airs later this year.

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.