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The 'Abbey' never sleeps.

After all the excitement last month with its will-she-or-won’t-she brouhaha about whether Maggie Smith wanted off of Downton Abbey (apparently, she didn’t), news about the hit British TV series was scarcer in recent days.

But don’t despair. We’re on the case here at Anglophenia. In this week’s installment of Keeping up with the Crawleys, here are a handful of tasty tidbits about Downton to keep fans up to date on the latest developments about their favorite Emmy-winning show:

Look Who’s Getting Married (Possible Spoiler)

There’s been no official confirmation from the show, but British press photographers snapped Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, clad in a wedding gown on location where the series is shooting its third season. So, while fans have all been looking forward to the wedding of Lady Mary to Matthew, it looks like another Crawley sister may be headed down the aisle.

Daisy To Do Double Duty

Actress Sophie McShera, who plays naïve Daisy, the assistant cook and all-purpose maid on Downton, has nabbed a supporting role in The Job Lot. The new British TV series, set in a government employment center, will begin airing on ITV in 2013. No need to panic: McShera will continue on Downton.

On Second Thought…

Elizabeth McGovern, who portrays Lady Cora on Downton, got into trouble for comments she made about the show in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Visiting the U.S. – she’s American but lives in England, just like her character – a week ago to promote Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, a movie that had its premiere showing at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, she remarked that the second season of Downton had to cover so much historical ground that some of the series’ original emphasis on characters was lost.

“The show in the first season was more to my taste than the show in the second season,” McGovern said.

Her comments, widely picked up, were interpreted as a direct diss against Season Two.

Au contraire, McGovern clarified in a hastily released follow-up statement. “I am horrified that my comments about the second series of Downton Abbey have been taken out of context and misinterpreted,” she said. “I was in no way criticizing the second season or implying that I loved or enjoyed it less.”

Get a Clue

Definitely dissing Downton’s Season Two was Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. While promoting the American airing of the latest episodes of his series about the modern incarnation of the Baker Street detective (which begins on PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery this Sunday, May 6), he told the New York Times that a PBS Masterpiece executive had teased him last January at the Golden Globes Awards about Downton winning a trophy.

“I just looked at [the award] and went: ‘Begone, woman. Bring it back when it says Sherlock Holmes or [co-creator] Steven Moffat or myself — someone else who’s more deserving than the second series of Downton Abbey,’” said Cumberbatch.

Stopping himself from further deriding the show, he added, “I know too many people who are in it. I thought the first series was good. That’s what I’ll say.”

Downton in India?

Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton, who’ve frequently crossed verbal swords on Downton as, respectively, the Dowager Countess and Isobel Crawley, pair up again in India. Both star in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a British comedy set in India that opens in the U.S. this Friday (May 4). The two veteran actresses play members of a group of elderly Brits who, looking for a cheaper place to retire, move to Jaipur.


Season Three of Downton Abbey will begin airing in the UK next fall and in the U.S in early 2013. Season One and Season Two are available on DVD.


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By Leah Rozen