Viewers were gripped last night as series two of Downton Abbey drew to a close. The epic finale centred on the outbreak of Spanish flu which tragically claimed the life of Lavinia Swire. The happiness of Mr Bates and Anna (the new Mrs Bates) was short lived as he was arrested for murder leaving viewers on a cliff edge, not least the question as to whether Matthew and Lady Mary will ever get it together!
Today I was lucky enough to attend a question and answer session with Julian Fellowes and members of the Downton Abbey cast. Set up by The Manton Abbey Club (men who like Downton Abbey) the canape and drinks event was organised to celebrate the release of series two on DVD.
The guests in the audience had been invited via Twitter to the event held at the prestigious St Ermin’s Hotel in Central London. Christian O’Connell from Absolute Radio introduced the special guests to the gathering. Downton creator, Julian Fellowes was joined by cast members, Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), and Iain Glen (Sir Richard Carlisle). Celebrity fans Will Carling and Richard Arnold completed the line up.
All of the special guests answered questions from Christian O’Connell and the audience. The cast were in a very playful mood and much was made of the re-awakening of Matthew Crawley’s “trouser department”.
Dan Stevens who plays the heir to Downton spoke freely of some of the flirtatious fan mail and tweets he gets from both women and men.
Allen Leech who plays plucky Irish chauffeur Branson spoke of his proud Mother who calls him after each show and tells him what she thinks will happen to the characters.
Most of the questions were put to Downton creator and writer Julian Fellowes who spoke of his eagerness to use Highclere Castle as Downton Abbey. He had attempted to use the castle in previous projects including Gosford Park. When it came to searching for venues for Downton Abbey the imposing Highclere Castle was perfect.
The cast remained tight lipped when pressed for hints on future storylines. When asked what we can expect from the upcoming Christmas special Julian Fellowes simply quipped “I think there’ll be a Christmas tree!”
Series two of Downton Abbey is available on DVD from today.