Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Michelle Dockery says her Downton Abbey role made her feel ‘more powerful’

Michelle Dockery attending the world premiere of Downton Abbey: A New Era at Cineworld Leicester Square, London. (Ian West/PA)
Michelle Dockery attending the world premiere of Downton Abbey: A New Era at Cineworld Leicester Square, London. (Ian West/PA)

Michelle Dockery has said playing a strong female lead in Downton Abbey from a young age helped her feel “more powerful”.

The 40-year-old actress was aged 26 when she landed the role of Lady Mary Crawley. Dockery recently reprised the character for the cinematic sequel of the period drama in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Speaking on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast, she said: “Downton certainly gave me a lot of confidence and I think that also came from the character because she is such a strong and a fantastic character to play and there is a sort of confidence that those women of that time had.

“I think that certainly helped me to feel more powerful definitely… I feel very lucky that Downton gave me that sort of anchoring from a very young age really.”

The actress explained that she was living with three other girls in what felt like a “student house” when she auditioned for the role.

She said she knew Downton would be a “big deal” as Julian Fellowes had created it and the talent already attached to the show included Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith.

Dockery said she had been “anticipating disappointment” after her audition as she had missed out on other parts she wanted. She said that when her agent told her she had the part, “I had to take a minute and sit down. You know, when I look back, it was life changing at that moment.

“We never would’ve dreamed it would become the phenomenon the show has become and that 12 years later I’d be sitting here and we’d still be talking about it.”

Downton Abbey: A New Era world premiere
Michelle Dockery, centre, with Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael all reprised their roles for Downton Abbey: A New Era (Ian West/PA)

Downton Abbey ran on ITV from 2010 to 2015, following the fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their downstairs servants at a Yorkshire country estate.

It later returned to the big screen in 2019, with the first film focusing on a royal visit to the Crawley family and Downton staff.

The latest movie sees the beloved characters embark on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa as they try to escape a film crew at Downton.

Dockery described returning to the franchise as like “going back home” to a family.

She added: “We are just delighted every time we get to get back together, put on those costumes and shoes again, and sort of slip into very familiar territory, which is quite rare for an actor to be able to go back (and) keep going back to something.

“A lot of the time you are saying goodbye to something and then you are moving on to something quite quickly, a new group of people, a new territory, a different country.

“But whereas with this, it’s like when Downton comes along, it’s like ‘Oh, I know this, I know it so well and it makes it really easy actually just to step back into it’.”

Dockery said that learning her lines for Downton was “easy” as she knows the character so well. But for her recent role as a criminal barrister in the new series Anatomy Of A Scandal, she had to say her lines “in her sleep” in order to remember them.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]