Many Abbey re­turns for Down­ton’s Dowa­ger

Scottish Daily Mail - - Puzzles & Prizes - Baz Bamigboye

MAG­GIE SMITH will ll re­turn to Down­ton n Abbey for the Dowa­ger’ s last hur­rah, in a film se­quel that’s set to shoot in the spring.

The Down­ton movie, re­leased last st Septem­ber, in­cluded a mov­ing scene e where Vi­o­let Craw­ley, the Dowa­ger er Count­ess of Gran­tham, con­fided to o her grand­daugh­ter Lady Mary y (Michelle Dock­ery) that she was sick k and ‘may not have long to live’.

Fans of the pic­ture, based on the e block­buster tele­vi­sion drama, , as­sumed they would never see Vi­o­let t again, and that any fol­low-up film m would not fea­ture the de­li­ciously y sharp-tongued ma­tri­arch.

How­ever, the great dame has agreed to put on Vi­o­let’s posh frocks once again for a fi­nal out­ing.

She’ll be joined by her screen fam­ily, in­clud­ing Hugh Bon­neville’s Lord Gran­tham and El­iz­a­beth McGovern, as his wife Cora. Lady Mary will r eturn ( along with Matthew Goode as her hus­band Henry), as will her sis­ter Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael).

Pene­lope Wil­ton’s cousin Iso­bel and Allen Leech’s Bran­son will also be back; along with trusted re­tain­ers Jim Carter (Mr Carson), Phyl­lis Lo­gan (Mrs Carson, nee Hughes), Mr Bates (Bren­dan Coyle) and his wife Anna (Joanne Frog­gatt).

In the mean­time, de­spite her very Bri­tish stiff up­per lip as Lady Mary, Michelle Dock­ery has been spread­ing her wings across the At­lantic to play the Amer­i­can mother of a boy accused of mur­der, along­side Chris Evans ( Mar­vel’s Cap­tain Amer­ica), in the Ap­ple TV+ minis­eries De­fend­ing Ja­cob.

Down­ton will shoot from March un­til May next year un­der strict

Covid- se­cure safety pro­to­cols. Mag­gie — who will be 86 by the time film­ing starts — will have a bub­ble of her own, to keep her ex­tra safe.

Cre­ator Julian Fel­lowes told me just be­fore the quar­an­tine that he had writ­ten a draft script. And dur­ing the sum­mer, Carmichael teased that he had been ‘ pol­ish­ing’ the screen­play dur­ing the lock­down.

Scripts were sent out to cast mem­bers last month; and cast­ing has be­gun for the film’s guest stars.

Imelda Staunton and Tup­pence Mid­dle­ton were in­tro­duced in key roles in last year’s pic­ture, and they’ll be back, too.

Pro­duc­ers at Car­ni­val Film and Tele­vi­sion and Univer­sal’s Fo­cus Fe a t u r e s wa n t to film in s pring be­cause i t’ s t he best ‘avail­abil­ity win­dow’ for the cast and cre­ative team.

Fam­ily gath­er­ing: Mag­gie Smith and Michelle Dock­ery in Down­ton

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