Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley)
It’s hard to believe, but after two series of emotional anguish, Lady Mary Crawley actually has a smile on her face.
“The big difference for Lady Mary in this series is that she’s very happy!” enthuses Michelle Dockery. “As much as that angst between Matthew and Mary was enjoyable to play, I must say it’s lovely now to be settled in some ways."
But first we have the prospect of the nuptials – and one of the most eagerly anticipated wedding dresses of the last few years.
“It’s an absolutely stunning design,” says Dockery. “Caroline McCall [costume designer on series three] did such an extraordinary job. She’s really talented. She worked with Susannah Buxton [costume designer on series 1 and 2] – the master! – for two years so inevitably she’s just as brilliant.
“It’s a truly stunning dress. I’m sure that people will make some comparisons with the royal wedding. The crowds as we arrived at the church and stepped out of the carriage were just amazing, with all these supporting artists cheering us on.”
Of course, whether Lady Mary and Matthew actually tie the knot is up for debate, but has this impending union made Lady Mary easier to like? She did have quite the reputation for frostiness during the show’s earliest episodes…
“In the first few episodes people loved to hate her. She was very cold, she had this icy exterior and she was vile to her sister. Then, half-way through the first series, after the incident with Pamuk [the Turkish diplomat who died in Lady Mary’s bed], she began to soften.
“Then in the second series you see the heart of the character much more because, of course, we were at war – every time she saw Matthew could have been the last. And I’ve loved that arc that Julian [Fellowes] has written for her. Even in the third series it’s changing.”