Friday, August 17, 2012

No escape from austerity – even for the aristocrats of Downton Abbey -

In a teaser clip, shown for the first time in Beverly Hills on Saturday, Hugh Bonneville’s character, the sixth Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley, is seen sobbing as he admits that the family wealth has vanished in a scene with actress Elizabeth McGovern, who plays his wife, Cora. “Are you really telling me that all the money has gone?” the countess asks her husband. After a pause, he tells her: “I’m afraid so.”

Affairs of the heart will also feature, the clips suggest. At the end of last year’s Christmas special, when Matthew Crawley stooped down on bended knee in the snow, his tempestuous love affair with Lady Mary seemed finally to have reached a conclusion.

After a shock recovery from paralysis and Mary Crawley’s long-overdue confession about the embarrassing death of Kemal Pamuk, the diplomat, it seemed that the pair might settle into married life without any further ordeals.

But the will-they-or-won’t-they nature of the romance will continue in season three with a mystery disagreement that leaves actress Michelle Dockery’s character questioning whether they should call off the wedding.

She tells the Downton heir: “How can you be so disappointing? Don’t you see what this means? It means that deep down you are not on our side.”

Without disclosing the nature of the argument, she added: “Shouldn’t we be brave and back away now?”

Speaking about her character’s development, Dockery told The Daily Telegraph: “She’s matured. She’s very much grown into a woman in the third series in comparison to the slightly spoiled behaviour in the first series.”

The battle of the matriarchs will also be revived with the feisty arrival of Shirley MacLaine, the veteran American actress, who will appear as Cora’s “dramatic” mother. The 78 year-old, who admitted to never having watched Downton Abbey before the role, said working on the set had been an extraordinary experience.

“We were shooting outside in the rain and in the wind with our formal gear on and nobody seemed to notice,” she said. “So I stepped right in there and acted like I didn’t either. I had a fabulous time.”

Season three of Downton Abbey, which recently won a record 16 Emmy nominations, will start in September.

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