Allison Janney wants to be an illegitimate Crawley in Downton Abbey

The Mom and West Wing star fancies revelling in the melodrama of ITV's hit series – and she's got her eye on becoming Maggie Smith's illegitimate on-screen daughter

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Allison Janney wants to swap cracking blunt jokes for sharing social niceties in hit ITV period drama Downton Abbey

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The Mom and West Wing star has said she’s keen to follow in the footsteps of American stars Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti and bag a cameo alongside the Crawleys. 

“The acting is just delicious to watch – the melodrama of it all,” Janney says in this week’s Radio Times magazine.

Janney already knows what part she’d like to play: ” I’d be Shirley MacLaine’s sister or Maggie Smith’s illegitimate daughter.”

We quite fancy the latter. She’s the right age, and there are still some unanswered questions where the Dowager Countess’ former flame Prince Kuragin is concerned. Plus we’d love to see the look on Robert’s face when he found out… 

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Janney, whose sitcom Mom (above) returns to ITV2 this month, is quite a fan of British TV. Her favourite is Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner – “I was cast as the mum in the American remake, which never got beyond the pilot, so I watched all the UK episodes and fell in love with it” – and she’s poised to become a Call the Midwife fan, too. 

“I’m planning to watch Miranda Hart’s shows and Call the Midwife because I filmed a movie with her, Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law [the upcoming Spy]. We bonded over our height. She’s hysterical.”

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Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times magazine, on sale now