Meet Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery’s alter-ego: “rich Britney from Beverley Hills”

The actress has a novel way of going incognito when she's in the US...

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Michelle Dockery has a pretty great life, channelling glamorous Lady Mary on Downton Abbey and travelling the world as a bonafide movie star. But – like all celebs – she struggles to walk her dog or buy a pint of milk without being recognised. It’s a tough life, eh?

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However, Michelle tells Radio Times she’s come up with a novel solution to avoid getting stopped in the street for selfies: when she’s recognised in the US, she simply pretends to be “rich Britney, from Beverley Hills,” who happens to look just like Lady Mary. 

“It’s a silly spoof, but it passes the time. We’re always sending ourselves up. Even on set, when you’re doing a serious scene, you can’t help but see the funny version.” 

The new series of the ITV period drama – which starts on Sunday (21 September) – will see Mary caught once again between her two suitors, Viscount Tony Gillignham (Tom Cullen) and Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden). 

“What I love about Mary’s story this year is that she’s allowing herself to make those choices. There’s a scene where she says, ‘Why can’t I have a relationship with a man before I decide he’s the one I want to settle down with?’ She’s very complex, she’s very modern.”

The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times, on sale today in shops and on Newsstand for iPad or iPhone

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For the first in a four-part RT special, The Downton Years, packed with exclusive interviews and pictures, download the Radio Times newsstand edition.