There is ‘life after Downton’ for two former downstairs rivals…

Highclere Castle. Photo: Bill Young

Two former downstairs residents of Downton Abbey have landed roles in upcoming productions over the next year. Fresh off spending time in Happy Valley, Siobhan Finneran, who you’ll recognize as Downton Abbey’s resident mean girl, O’Brien, in the first three seasons of Downton Abbey, joins the cast of The Damned which recently finished filming in Iceland.

Siobhan Finneran as O’Brien, Downton Abbey’s resident mean girl. Photo: PBS Masterpiece

Described as a ‘tense psychological horror, The Damned follows Eva, a 19th-century widow who is tasked with making an impossible choice when, in the middle of an especially cruel winter, a ship sinks off the coast of her isolated fishing post.

Eva and her crew must choose to either rescue the shipwrecked or survive the winter with their last remaining food. Facing the consequences of their choice and tormented by their guilt, the inhabitants wrestle with a mounting sense of dread and begin to believe they are all being punished for their choices…

Phyllis Logan, better known as Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey, returns for the third series of Guilt which will air later this year on PBS Masterpiece. Logan, who joined the cast of Guilt during series two, will reprise her role as criminal mastermind, Maggie Lynch.

Phyllis Logan as Maggie in Guilt. Photo: PBS

The final chapter of the Guilt trilogy finds brothers Max and Jake (Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives) reunited, but with enemies old and new causing them to seek ever more desperate solutions to their problems.

Taking a page from O’Brien’s Downton Abbey playbook, the role of Maggie is a far cry from Mrs. Hughes. Logan told that she rather enjoyed being a bit of a mean girl in Guilt.

It’s quite out of my usual playing range. So yes, it’s always nice to do something different. I suppose she is a bit of a mastermind. For me, it’s nice to play a bit mean! That’s always fun to do,” said Logan.

“Also Maggie’s quite funny as well. It’s all in the writing, of course, because Neil Forsyth is just a bit of a genius. He just writes so beautifully and so you get the humor through of all the main characters. But it’s great fun to be a meanie.”

Guilt will tentatively return to PBS Masterpiece for the third and final series later this year with no release date set as of yet for The Damned.

In: Drama