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Downton Abbey Season 4: Michelle Dockery reveals how Lady Mary copes after Matthew's death

by Francesca Menato ,
Downton Abbey Season 4: Michelle Dockery reveals how Lady Mary copes after Matthew's death© Getty

With Downton Abbey back on our screens this autumn, we're trying to get all the goss we can - just so we're really prepared. The cast and producers have been talking about the upcoming series and explained just how different this season will be to the last.

Downton Abbey is set to return in just a few months and show bosses are giving us a few hints as to what we can expect.

Executive producer Gareth Neame and five of the programme's stars - Sophie McShera, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt and Michelle Dockery - all spoke about the "new era" of Downton.

Appearing at the TCA press tour they shared some insights into storylines of some of the key characters.

The last series ended with the tragic death of Matthew Crawley - played by Dan Stevens - mere moments after Lady Mary had given birth to their first son.

Season four begins six months after the tragedy and as Laura Carmichael explained, "the death of Matthew really affects the whole family."

Meanwhile, Michelle Dockery - Downton's Lady Mary - admitted she was concerned for her character when she read the script for Matthew's death.

She revealed: "My first reaction was 'Oh crap, where can the story go now?'

"But it opens up a new chapter. Initially I was concerned, but now I'm not."

Lady Mary and Tom Branson with their children in series 4 © ITV Pictures
Lady Mary and Tom Branson with their children in series 4
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Sadly, this new chapter does not show Mary settling into life as a mum with ease.

Michelle added: "You don't see much interaction between the baby and Mary. She looks at him and sees Matthew."

But she did confirm what we had all expected - there will be "more than one love interest" for the new mother.

But it's not all about Lady Mary - this series is set to see a whole new side of England in the twenties.

The characters are breaking out of their Yorkshire shelter and "it feels more like the twenties than before."

Laura Carmichael - who plays Lady Edith - explained: "Edith goes to London a lot and we see the streets of London and Lily James' character Rose is another sort of bright young thing character who's having a lot of fun at Downton.

"In amongst the mourning there are these sort of escapes for a couple of the characters. It will feel in a different era."

And, as always, there's action downstairs too.

Producer Gareth spoke of Rob James-Collier's character Thomas Barrow, the ambitious under-butler.

He said: "It's going to be a complex world with him going forward.

"[With O'Brien leaving] there's going to be a bit of a shake-up with what happens to his story.

Jim Carter as Mr Carson in series 4 © ITV Pictures
Jim Carter as Mr Carson in series 4
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"But he's always going to have that core thing of wanting to be in control, wanting to find out what's going on, wanting to dictate things, that rivalry with Carson.

"He remains a very compelling character."

In terms of the show as a whole, Downton Abbey fans can rest easy - there's set to be a fifth season after this one.

Michelle Dockery assured us they're "all doing series five next year."

Gareth explained: "I'm now eying the fifth season and what those stories potentially would be.

"I think the show has a lot further to go. We're not going to World War II, but that's still 18 years away in story terms.

"We want to make it and we want to make the show people around the world love.

"When we feel it's had its time, hopefully we'll know that before you guys do."

For season 4, "all of the characters are coming into the modern age.

"It is the story of these 20-25 characters that are much loved around the world and how they continue to try to get by."

Excited much?!

The cast and executive producers © Getty
The cast and executive producers
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Francesca Menato
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