Sir Ian McKellen's Downton Abbey audition is 'Vicious'


As we reported this past Fall, Vicious, a.k.a. Vicious Old Queens, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, is making its way to PBS beginning June 15 (following the return of Endeavour on Masterpiece Mystery). The British comedy, which premiered on ITV this past Spring in the UK, tells the story of Freddie and Stuart, a constantly bickering couple who have lived together in a small Covent Garden flat for nearly 50 years.
 
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Jacobi stars as Stuart Bixby, a former bar manager with an aged mother named Mildred who has been clueless as to her son’s relationship with Freddie for almost a half-century. McKellen stars as Freddy Thornhill, an over-the-hill actor whose career consisted mainly of bit parts. Royal Shakespeare Company alumnae, Frances de la Tour (Rising Damp, Harry Potter) stars as Violet, a close friend of both Freddie and Stuart and wannabe closer-friend of upstairs neighbor, Ash Weston, played by Ewan Rheon.

Freddie’s most current ‘bit part’ that he, along with the rest of the planet would kill for, is for that as ‘Cook Number 4’ in Downton Abbey. Here, Freddie practices with Ash for a role that just might supplant his minor iconic role in Doctor Who some years ago as his career defining moment.
 

 
A second series of Vicious was commissioned not long after the series one broadcast in the UK. A new Christmas special aired this past December with series 2 tentatively set of transmission this Fall on ITV1.