Lily James: I want Lady Rose to shake up Downton Abbey

The new star of the ITV period drama says her character represents the modern world giving the family a shock


The Christmas special confirmed that Lily James is officially one of the Downton Abbey girls – and the actress who plays mischievous young cousin Rose says she hopes her character will be “even naughtier” this year.


“We’ll see. I hope so,” she told at the RT Covers Party. “It’s nice to bring the outside world into Downton. The London world is quite exciting – it gives it a social context. Downton’s in a bubble with their morals and the world they uphold, so it’s nice to see the more rebellious London world [as well].

“But you never know what’s going to happen,” added James, who revealed she had received scripts for the first two episodes of series four, but was careful not to let slip any details. “Julian [Fellowes] could write anything for any of us.”

James said she hadn’t been fazed by joining Laura Carmichael and Michelle Dockery as the “upstairs” female leads in the series – following the shock death of Lady Sybil in series three, the permanent arrival at Downton in series four of cousin Rose makes James effectively a replacement for Jessica Brown-Findlay.


“They’re the best!” James said of her co-stars. “I feel extremely lucky, happy and welcomed. They’ve been doing it for three years, so it’s a big thing to step into the story they’ve created. But I watch it so I know the characters!”