End of an era

Will the fi­nal sea­son of Down­ton Abbey bring res­o­lu­tion for fans? By MICHELE MANELIS

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

CAN Lady Edith find hap­pi­ness? Will Mrs Hughes and Mr Car­son ex­pe­ri­ence a “full mar­riage”? Will Lady Mary find true love again? And what will be­come of Lord and Lady Gran­tham – will they move with the times or be­come as ob­so­lete as the Down­ton es­tate it­self?

Fans are hop­ing th­ese ques­tions will be an­swered as Down­ton Abbey airs its sev­enth – and fi­nal – sea­son.

On the set at High­clere Cas­tle in Berk­shire, about an hour’s drive from Lon­don, Laura Carmichael, looks un­recog­nis­able out of cos­tume.

While she agrees her char­ac­ter Lady Edith has had a tough run, she’s hope­ful she’ll get her hap­pily-ever-af­ter.

“Yes, bad things have hap­pened to her, but it’s also made her very coura­geous,” Carmichael says.

“She’s al­ways picked her­self up and got on with things. She’s evolved into a more in­ter­est­ing for­ward-think­ing woman than per­haps she would have if she’d mar­ried [pub­lisher] Michael Greg­son [who died as a re­sult of a mil­i­tary fray in­sti­gated by Hitler].

“And I love that she’s dis­cov­ered writ­ing at a time when un­mar­ried women didn’t even have the vote un­less they were over 30.”

Lady Mary has also en­dured her fair share of doom. But her por­trayer, Michelle Dock­ery, prom­ises this sea­son will bring some re­lief.

“Lady Mary is over her grief and she’s start­ing to have fun again,” she says. “Her con­fi­dence is back and she’s em­brac­ing fash­ion.

“The thing about Mary is she’s al­ways been true to her­self. She’s not go­ing to get mar­ried just for the sake of get­ting mar­ried. It needs to be the right per­son. And ac­tu­ally, in this sea­son, it’s Lady Edith who’s go­ing off into the big wide world more than Mary.”

And what is Lady Gran­tham’s fu­ture in an ever-chang­ing mod­ern world? El­iz­a­beth McGovern pre­views what lies ahead for her char­ac­ter, say­ing: “It’s the slow erod­ing of a way of life each char­ac­ter is con­tend­ing with in their own way. We find out more about Cora as a char­ac­ter, away from be­ing a wife and mother.”

Hugh Bon­neville, who plays manor pa­tri­arch Lord Gran­tham says he is also a fan. “(It has) been like un­wrap­ping a Christ­mas present read­ing the scripts be­cause you don’t know what’s in­side,” he says.

“You hope by rat­tling the box you’ll get a good sense of it, but you don’t quite know,” he says. “There have been won­der­ful sur­prises over the sea­sons, but what I will miss the most is that view com­ing up the drive when you first glimpse the cas­tle. That’s pretty epic.”

Down­ton Abbey bid farewell to the awards cir­cuit last month with a sur­prise win for En­sem­ble in a Drama Se­ries at the pres­ti­gious Screen Ac­tors Guild Awards.

“Down­ton has an ap­peal for peo­ple of all ages and all de­mo­graph­ics,” Carmichael says.

“It will be missed as much as we will miss shoot­ing the show. It’s been a life-al­ter­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us.”

DOWN­TON ABBEY

SEVEN, MON­DAY, 9PM

Start your en­gines: Matthew Goode and Michelle Dock­ery are set for an ac­tion-packed fi­nal sea­son of Down­tonAbbey.

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