Normally, at this time of year, the phrase “…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” is on everyone’s mind. For the past several years, however, it’s sounding more and more like “…it’s beginning to look a lot like Downton” as people begin to ready themselves for the January premiere each year.
In advance of the 2014 U.S. premiere of Downton Abbey 4, the band got back together in New York this past week for a live Q&A and discussion event in anticipation of the season 4 premiere on MASTERPIECE on PBS on Sunday, January 5, 2014.
The livestreamed panel was moderated by Bill Carter of the New York Times and featured series stars Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes) and Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) along with creator/writer/executive producer, Julian Fellowes and executive producer, Gareth Neame.
Much of the early part of the discussion centered on the past and the deaths of Matthew and Lady Sybil. Creator/writer Julian Fellows discussed the differences in having to ‘create’ the sudden nature of Matthew’s death and how, earlier in series 2, he was able to create a story arc that could dwell on Lady Sybil’s death.
The discussion quickly turned to the upcoming fourth series, which understandably centers around Lady Mary and her relationship with her family and her son, George, and even an attempt at finding another suitor. A couple bits of cocktail party trivia surfaced when Fellowes said the Grantham character was inspired by his father and then also revealed the inspiration behind the Grantham name as it was the name of the train stop where he was caught by police after skipping school with a friend.
While Downton Abbey 4 is just beginning in the U.S., UK audiences are readying themselves for the forthcoming Christmas Day episode which will serve as the finale of series 4 on both sides of the pond. Take heart, however. Filming for series 5 will begin in February of 2014.