Whether you are new to the series and refer to it as Downton Abbey or you’ve been there from day 1 and simply refer to it as just Downton when you knowingly pass fellow series lovers on the streets, you probably have a countdown calendar on the wall with either September circled if in the UK or January if you are in the States.
No matter where you are, you are probably a member of the Downton Abbey Separation Anxiety Support Group and in need of a fix. Fortunately, Saturday was PBS day at the 2012 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour and it was all Downton all the time with a panel of both cast members and producers taking a break from filming in London to meet with journalists keen on getting any small sliver of information that could be shared with the millions of fans of the series around the globe.
The panel, armed with their knowledge of their 16 Emmy nominations and much to the delight of everyone in the room Saturday, revealed probably more than the law allows at this point regarding series 3 so it you happen to be the one person on the planet that can wait until transmission, read no further. For those that can’t wait, know that fireworks do fly when the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith) and Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) find themselves in the same room together.
As creator/writer, Julian Fellowes noted during the panel, series 3 will encompass about two years at the start of the 1920s and Downton Abbey’s recovery from the war. Notable tidbits revealed on Saturday center around the seemingly happy marriage of Matthew and Mary (or is it?), do a few bad investments spell doom for the Crawley family fortune and what happens to John Bates, Lord Grantham’s valet who was convicted last season of murdering his wife and barely escaped the gallows. Will there be ‘Free Bates’ t-shirts for sale on Amazon in the not-too-distant future? Sadly, it was also revealed that Isis the dog’s role has been greatly reduced during series 3.
Sharing the award for the best laugh during the panel had to be between Brendan Coyle who admitted he had broken down and taken those “What ‘Downton Abbey’ Character Are You?” quizzes that float around on Facebook. “I’m Mary,” he deadpanned. “I’m really happy about it” and Shirley MacLaine who, when asked if she and Dame Maggie Smith had met before calmly shared Smith’s recollection of their meeting some 40 years ago backstage at the Oscars, near a catering table, after MacLaine failed to take home a trophy. “Do you know what you did, dear?” Smith reminded her. “You tucked right into that chocolate cake and said, ‘(Expletive), I don’t care if I’m thin ever again.’”.
I so can’t wait for this…how about you?