Lady Mary: I hope you know that really smart people sleep in separate rooms.
Lord Robert: I always keep the dressing room bed made up so I at least pretend we sleep in separate rooms. Isn't that enough?
Lady Mary: No. Never mind.
Impoverished Patrician: Before his marriage. This was quite common in Real Life. During the nineteenth century, many impoverished British aristocrats married American heiresses to maintain their wealth. One of these heiresses was Winston Churchill's mother.
Manly Tears: Following Cora's miscarriage and in Series 3, firstly when he has to tell Cora that almost all her dowry is gone due to his bad investments and then when Lady Sybil dies from post-partum eclampsia.
Mistaken for Servant: By his own mother hilariously, when he is forced to wear black tie after O'Brien hides his white tie to get back at Thomas.
Violet: Might I have a drink? Oh, I'm so sorry, I thought you were a waiter.
Rich in Pounds, Poor in Sense: When it comes to financial matters. This is most evident in Series 3 — First he loses Cora's fortune in an all-or-nothing investment (and wonders about reinvesting with "this chap called Ponzi"). Next it's revealed he's been mismanaging the estate for years, and its haemorrhaging money. Then he refuses to consider Matthew's improvements, even though Downton could be lost again if he doesn't.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: In Series 3, his entrenchment to the traditional old ways of running the Estate puts him at odds with Matthew, who has plans for a more modern, efficient Downton.
Succession Crisis: He has no son of his own, meaning that his first and first cousin once removed, James and Patrick, were to inherit the estate - until they were killed on the Titanic in the first episode. As a result, distant relation Matthew is the new heir, a development that drives much of the series's plot.
Suddenly Shouting: He's generally a very even tempered sort of chap, so this only occurs when he gives his daughters a bollocking, and when Isobel's pushiness becomes too much...
Robert: Now I think perhaps I should make one thing clear. Downton is our house and our home and we will welcome in it any friends or relations we choose and if you do not care to accept that condition then I suggest you give orders for the nurses and the patients and the beds and the rest of it TO BE PACKED UP AND SHIPPED OUT AT ONCE!!
Took a Level in Jerkass: He gets an unfortunate dose in Series 3, once we learn his management of the estate (ie, the one tangible contribution his existence gives to the world) will soon run it into the ground. And it takes the entire series for him to be convinced to see reason and accept that there's a better way to run it.
He briefly gets even worse in Series 4 when he considers hiding from Mary that she may legally own half of Downton, but comes to his senses.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He (and Violet) can be justifiably blamed for bringing up Sir Anthony's doubts about marrying someone younger and his disability, which leads to Edith getting jilted at the altar.
Your Cheating Heart: In Series 2, he strikes up a lustful dalliance with Jane Moorsum, a new maid, which leads to a few stolen kisses, but he soon breaks it off, following a My God, What Have I Done? realization. Robert definitely Has a Type — Jane, like his wife Cora, is a brunette with piercing blue eyes who is devoted to her family.
The Right Honourable Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern)
"No one ever tells you about raising daughters. You think it’ll be like Little Women, and instead they’re at each other's throats."
Ambiguously Jewish: Her father Isidore Levinson was Jewish but her mother, Martha Levinson, is not. Cora and her brother Harold were therefore raised as Episcopalians.
Despair Event Horizon: Following Sybil's death in childbirth, for which she initially blames Robert, at least in part. She pleads Please Wake Up over and over again as poor Sybil succumbs to post-partum eclampsia.
Good Parents: Considering her own mother is decidedly over-bearing, Cora is ostensibly a very good mum to her three girls.
Incurable Cough of Death: She contracts a rather nasty bout of Spanish Flu in Series 2, and it looks like she won't make it at one point, especially after she starts coughing up blood. She gets better though — as Dr Clarkson says, it's a strange disease.
The Matchmaker: Keen to get her daughters (especially Mary) married and settled as quickly as possible.
Mary: How many times am I to be ordered to marry the man sitting next to me at dinner?
Cora: As many times as it takes.
Nouveau Riche: Her father seems to have been a Self-Made Man, though of course she exhibits none of the negative aspects associated with this trope and is consummately ladylike, fitting in perfectly with the British upper crust—although she is perhaps a bit more diplomatic than others. She's part of something that happened a fair amount at the time: he brought class and tradition older than America, she brought much-needed money to the estate.
Parental Favoritism: She's more diplomatic than Robert, but it's pretty clear that she too shows more interest in Sybil and Mary over Edith.
Cora: You were a great success in London, Sybil darling.
Cora: Don't worry about me, I'm an American — have gun, will travel.
Spoiled Sweet: Cora's father was a dry goods millionaire from Cincinnati, making her less like the NY old guard and more like the rest of the Buccaneers - American heiresses who couldn't get into the American elite, so they came over to England and France where their wealth could be, ah, appreciated.
Token Minority: She's American, a fact that her mother-in-law and even her own daughters rarely let her forget.
Lady Mary: You're American, you don't understand these things.
Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)
"Well, it's nothing to me. I've bigger fish to fry."
Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Of the Crawley girls — she exhibits a cooler, haughtier demeanor than eager-to-please, lovelorn Edith and adorably earnest Sybil.
Alpha Couple: Her and Matthew. From the start, the romance between them has been one of the primary focuses of the series, and the back and forth nature of their relationship has served as a major conversation topic between the rest of the characters.
Berserk Button: Downton and its survival comes first for her — and woe betide Matthew when, in Series 3, he suggests he can't accept a huge inheritance from Lavinia's late father which could save the ailing estate.
Big Sister Instinct: She exhibits this to Sybil in spades, referring to her as "my darling" most of the time and sticking up for her to their parents. Never to Edith, however.
Birth-Death Juxtaposition: At the close of the Series 3 Christmas Special, scenes of Mary happily cooing over her and Matthew's new baby (and heir) are inter-cut with Matthew speeding along in his roadster, which collides with an on-coming lorry, leaving his lifeless, blood-soaked body by the roadside.
Break the Haughty: Handsome foreign house-guest Kemal Pamuk scandalously dies in her bed during an illicit encounter, after he manages to barge his way into her room. The ensuing scandal this causes throughout Series 1 & 2 (after Edith leaks the story) thoroughly shatters her confidence.
Christmas Cake: She's on the cusp, and this is the reason why the family wants her (in her early 20s) to be married off as quickly as possible, "before the bloom is quite gone off the rose," as the Dowager Countess puts it.
Defrosting Ice Queen: After Matthew manages to thaw out her heart. Mary is an interesting example, as she will typically revert back to her frosty side when meeting new people (particularly men), and only drops the haughty, icy facade (or not) once she's sussed them out.
English Rose: She's a statuesque, porcelain-skinned beauty and possesses the easy confidence and social charm typical to her class — although she can, at times, reveal something of an ambitious streak and is definitely quite the contrarian.
Heroic BSOD: After losing Matthew, she almost completely shuts down and ices over for nearly six months. In the Series 4 premiere, a slight nudge from other members of Downton (against her father's wishes) is all it takes for her icy exterior to shatter and cause her to start sobbing hysterically.
Lady in Red: Her signature colour throughout Series 1-3. However in Series 4, she becomes a Woman in Black due to wearing appropriate mourning colours for the loss of Matthew. She has moved on to the purple shades of half-mourning by the time of the pig rescue in episode seven.
Leitmotif: Like most couples (and some individuals) in the series, she and Matthew have a piece of music to accompany significant scenes. Their's forms one of the main orchestral themes of the series.
Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Sybil and Mary share a strong sisterly bond, and represent pure, innocent femininity (the light) and sexy, sultry femininity (the dark) respectively.
Lineage Comes from the Father: She sees herself as English through and through, and often condescends her own mother's American background without any hint of irony. In explaining her extraordinary efforts to stay at Downton Abbey, when her mother is resigned to downsizing in Series 3, she remarks, ‘I am English — you are American’. Which seemingly sums up their entire relationship.
Love Triangle / Dude Magnet: Or rather, quadrilateral, as in Series 4, she is the subject of the affections of no less than three potential suitors — Anthony Foyle, Charles Blake and Evelyn Napier.
Rose: What's the group noun for "suitors"?
Master of the Mixed Message: She seems to want what she can't have. If a suitor suddenly becomes available, Mary finds a reason to break it off.
The Mourning After: As Series 4 begins, set 6 months after Matthew's death at the close of Series 3, she is still in a deep depression and wracked with grief.
Violet: You have a straightforward choice before you. You must choose either death... or life.
Sudden Principled Stand: A rather jarring example occurs in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special. Mary has a sudden, uncharacteristic attack of scruples when evidence (a train ticket) comes to light that implicates Bates in Green's murder, and she is initially insistent that she cannot keep said evidence from the authorities. This seems at odds with Mary's character throughout the series as a rather cavalier, non-conformist — particularly as she knew what Green had done to Anna. In the end, her loyalty to the couple wins through and she burns the ticket.
Tempting Fate: Mary says that she wants the trip to Duneagle to be Matthew's "last treat before Fatherhood claims him" — Matthew, distracted by the happy news of his son's birth, dies when his roadster collides with an on-coming lorry.
Widow Woman: From Series 4 onwards, following Matthew's death at the close of Series 3.
Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael)
"Am I to be the maiden aunt? Isn't this what they do? Arrange presents for their prettier relations?"
Blondes are Evil: Well, not exactly evil, but certainly sullen and malicious. Her fair hair serves to compound the differences between her and her mother and sisters, who are raven-haired beauties — she's the odd one out at a casual glance.
Chekhov's Skill: After honing her skills on one of the estate farms during the war years of Series 2, her ability to drive comes in handy when she races north with Mary and Anna, in pursuit of Sybil and Branson when they elope to Gretna Green.
Christmas Cake: She sees herself as this, which is why she is so pursuant of Sir Anthony, resolutely deciding he's her last chance at marriage.
Dating What Daddy Hates: Robert definitely likes Sir Anthony Strallan, he's just not too thrilled about him dating his much younger daughter.
A Day in the Limelight: Her (planned) wedding to Sir Anthony Strallan — she even remarks that she can't believe an event at the house is all about her...
Despair Event Horizon: Following Sir Anthony's decision to call off their wedding, which he does so as they meet at the altar. Edith is left broken and inconsolable.
The Dog Bites Back: Having endured Mary's taunts for most of the early part of Series 1, she takes revenge by writing to the Turkish Embassy to explain Mary's direct involvement in the circumstances surrounding the Kemal Pamuk scandal.
Edith: I think she who laughs last, laughs the longest.
The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Her and Mary. Whereas Mary is derisive about Edith's appearance and fashion sense, Edith is as equally snide and disapproving of Mary's behavior and attitude.
Mary:... I don’t think I would have gotten down, no matter how lame the horse.
Edith: No, I don’t believe you would.
Going for the Big Scoop: In Series 3, she makes a big splash as the rebellious daughter of Lord Grantham who publishes articles in The Sketch in support of women's liberation. (To her father's displeasure.)
Green-Eyed Monster: Oh yes, especially with regard to Mary, and to a lesser extent, Sybil.
Laser-Guided Karma: Edith loses her best chance with Sir Anthony in Series one as a direct result of spreading the story of Mary and Pamuk's sexual encounter and then spitefully admitting it to Mary's face.
Leitmotif: As life starts to improve for Edith (learning to drive, being with Sir Anthony etc), her time on screen is often accompanied by a cheerily hopeful, upbeat strings arrangement. It gets a Dark Reprise when she bursts back into Downton in her wedding dress, after being jilted at the altar.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Where to start? First, it was her cousin Patrick (who was engaged to Mary), then she developed feelings for Matthew (clearly unrequited), then in Series 2 she's snogging a (married) farm-hand (and is busted by his wife), then in Series 3, she takes up with Sir Anthony Strallan again, who is a quarter of a century older than her and ends up breaking her heart by leaving her at the altar (albeit for gallant reasons). Finally, she enjoys a flirtation towards the end of Series 3 with her new editor, Michael Gregson who turns out to be trapped in marriage with a mental patient.
Malicious Slander: Disseminating scurrilous rumours about her own sister's sex-ploits with Kemal Pamuk takes the cake.
Manipulative Bitch: She extracts the above gossip from an unwitting Daisy, under the guise of concern for her welfare.
Middle Child Syndrome: She's over-looked by her parents and sandwiched between her confident, beautiful sisters.
May-December Romance: With Sir Anthony Strallan during Series 1 and rekindled (perhaps) as of the Christmas Special. As of the Series 3 premiere, she's actively pursuing him, complete with inviting him to sit next to her at Mary and Matthew's wedding and kissing him on the cheek after a dinner party. Sadly, his hesitations get the better of him and he jilts her at the altar.
Naming Conventions: In keeping with her character, "Edith" is a rather staid, disharmonic, typical old maid name — at least compared to Mary (a classic main character/heroine name) and Sybil (a relatively unusual, phonetically silvery name).
Old Maid: She believes she is damned to this life especially after being left at the altar. She broken-heartedly accepts it the day afterwards.
Outdoorsy Gal: As much as an Edwardian Lady can be of course, but Edith genuinely found a new passion for driving the family cars, tractors and helping out on the estate farm during the War, much to the horror of her grandmother...
Plain Jane: Probably the politest way to describe Edith.
Rejection Affection: Edith pursues her neighbor Sir Anthony Strallan aggressively even though her family AND Strallan are against the match. She finally gets the hint when he leaves her at the alter.
Sliding Scale of Beauty: While not exactly ugly, poor Edith isn't a patch on sexy, sultry Mary and downright adorable Sybil.
Sour Prude: Oh yes - Especially where Mary is concerned.
Spirited Young Lady: After Sybil's death in Series 3, it seems her plotline in this regard was transferred to Edith, who suddenly takes an interest in writing about her support for women's suffrage and other political issues to a newspaper.
Surprise Pregnancy / My Secret Pregnancy: Following a night of passion with Michael Gregson mid-way through Series 4, she discovers she's pregnant. With Michael seemingly vanished into thin air, so traumatised is Edith that she makes an appointment at a Back-Alley Doctor for an illegal termination. However, once at the clinic, she can't bring herself to go through with it and makes plans to carry her baby to term by disguising it as a long French-improvement trip to Geneva with her Aunt Rosamund, with the plan being to give up the baby to a Swiss family. In the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, it is revealed Edith has had her baby daughter, but is so wracked with guilt that she plans to retrieve the child from Switzerland and secretly hand it over to Tim Drewe, a local tenant farmer, so she can at least have a chance of seeing the child.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Series 2 episode 3 has a moment where Edith is finally given praise by General Sir Herbert Strutt for her actions to help the recuperating veterans at the convalescent home. Although this is something she has been doing on the quiet, the other officers have noted and appreciated all the help she has provided them with. The entire table is shocked and impressed, with her mother even giving her a warm smile. The look on Edith's face afterwards is heartwarming.
Took a Level in Kindness: Of all the characters in the series, Edith has gone through the most striking Character Development process. In Series 1, she is an embittered, badly-dressed shrew and definitely the family trouble-maker. But after proving her worth during the War years of Series 2, she begins the journey to becoming a nicer person — her sister Sybil even remarks on it. In Series 3, following Sybil's death, she supplants her as the Spirited Young Lady of the family by beginning a career in journalism, becoming something of a fashionista (witness the risqué ensemble she wears to The Criterion), and taking up with a dashing (but married) lover, Michael Gregson. By Series 4, her Surprise Pregnancy storyline provides the greatest evidence of development, presenting Edith as a compassionate, morally strong young woman in a manner that is completely different from her Series 1 persona. Edith still retains something of a sharp-tongue, but the overall change across the four series is palpable.
'20s Bob Haircut: From Series 3 on-wards — she sports the classic "Marcel Wave".
Death by Childbirth: She dies after contracting eclampsia following the birth of her daughter mid-way through Series 3.
Elopement: In the dead of night, she and Branson race to Gretna Green to wed — until they're intercepted by Mary, Edith and Anna.
English Rose: Sybil is a true natural beauty, and with her bee-stung lips, wavy brown hair and alabaster complexion, as well as her politeness and strong moral sense, she perfectly exhibits the desired qualities of a true English Rose.
Gut Punch: Her death. Series 3 is just as melodramatic as the previous two, but the graphic, gasping death scene of one of the main family members, who had just become a mother and is one of the nicest characters on the show was unprecedented and shocking. William's death was noble, drawn out and sweet; Lavinia was perhaps destined to die — but Sybil's death was frantic, quick and horrifying. Never before had the show been so shocking to watch.
100% Adoration Rating: She is unanimously beloved by everyone at Downton, family and staff alike, and even Thomas sobs when she dies.
Thomas: In my life, not many have been kind to me. She was one of the few.
Indifferent Beauty: Although she's probably the most beautiful female in the series, Sybil never uses her looks to get her own way or manipulate people — her kindness, intelligence and passion do the talking.
Leitmotif: Her (and Branson's) theme is evocative and longingly romantic in tone and quality. It gets its Dark Reprise in the scenes following her death.
Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Sybil and Mary share a strong sisterly bond, and represent pure, innocent femininity (the light) and sexy, sultry femininity (the dark) respectively.
Long Hair Is Feminine: In the early part of Series 1, she's only just 16 and so still often wears her waist-length hair down — usually decorated with a large bow and pretty slides or pins. Her sisters are older, and have already had their first "Season", so always pin their hair up to signify they are ready for marriage.
McLeaned: Supposedly, Sybil was killed off because Jessica Brown-Findlay wanted to leave to pursue her film career.
Nice to the Waiter: She's particularly kind to the household staff, especially Gwen, her maid.
Sybil:(to Gwen) Your dream is my dream now, and I'll make it come true.
Out-of-Character Moment: A surprising, throwaway example occurs in the first series — O'Brien is setting Sybil's hair for the day when Gwen enters her room. After Sybil thanks O'Brien and signals she may leave, she remarks to Gwen "odious woman". Sure, O'Brien is a nasty piece of work but it's surprising that Sybil, who never normally has a bad word to say about anyone, says this without any clear, immediate provocation.
Riches to Rags: When she decides to marry Branson, although it's played-with: Sybil sees the change as a positive, and Lord Grantham eventually caves and gives her a small dowry, though still warning her about the very different life she'll lead.
Rite of Passage: Mid-way through Series 1, Sybil does her first "Season" — a series of balls and parties provided as an opportunity for noble young women who have reached marriageable age to be launched into society.
Spirited Young Lady: When it comes to politics, and fashion - the harem-style culottes she has tailored shock her family and in Series 2 she goes so far as to—shudder—actually get a job as a nurse.
Spoiled Sweet: She's sweet, kind and considerate. Like mother, like daughter, one supposes.
The British Title System: As the widow of a peer, Violet may continue to use the style she had during her husband's lifetime with the added prefix Dowager, which recognises and respects her previous role as chatelaine.
Brutal Honesty: She doesn't beat around the bush so much as hack straight through it.
The Comically Serious: She's the master of dry, po-faced badinage, but is also unknowingly funny in her imperious, aghast reaction to any concept that offends her staunch patrician ideals.
Good Old Ways: She even backs away in horror from electric lighting.
Violet: First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I was living in a H. G. Wells novel.
Gorgeous Period Dress: Though she does wear rather Outdated Outfits — In the first series, her outfits are more in line with the 1900s than the 1910s, and by the time she starts wearing the high-waisted, un-corseted looks of 1912-4 in the second season, it's World War One and the other ladies are moving on to barrel skirts and proto-flapper looks. Even in 1920, she's still dressing like Queen Alexandra, wearing an "s-bend" corset and floor-length gowns. This is in stark contrast to her American counter-part Martha, who is seen to embrace the new style of shapeless dresses, drop-waists and far higher hemlines.
Hypocritical Humor: She can be as stuffy, snide and sarcastic as she wants, but she will not allow Robert (of all people) to be stuffy to anyone. She always makes sure to be the first to pull him down from his high horse.
I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Violet's conversation with Mary, following Matthew's death, culminates in her saying that she loves her. This is the first time that Violet has ever said these words onscreen to anyone in her family, and she lacks all of her usual self-assurance when expressing such emotion. The scene is all the more powerful for that very fact.
Intergenerational Friendship: Violet takes a vested interest in her great-niece Lady Rose, and insists she stay with her at the Dower House when she visits Downton in 1920. In the Series 3 Christmas Special, she steers Rose away and comforts her after another berating from her mother, Susan.
As seen at the village flower show, where rather than accepting a horticultural award she wins every year by default, she graciously presents the prize to Molesley's father, Bill.
Also evidenced with the protective attitude she displays towards William, especially with regard to arranging his repatriation to Downton after he is mortally wounded at Amiens; she even threatens The Vicar when he initially refuses to conduct William's last request to marry Daisy.
Her kind advice to Daisy when she is feeling guilty about marrying William when she did not love him as much is another example.
The Matchmaker: She (surprisingly) pushes for the match between Mary and Matthew in Series 1, mostly to secure her granddaughter's position, and to ensure some measure of control over the Estate remains within the immediate family.
Violet: I didn't run Downton for 30 years to see it go, lock, stock and barrel, to a stranger from GOD knows where!
Mysterious Protector: Violet has a special soft spot for William (and Molseley), so when the call-up comes during the War years of Series 2, she uses her considerable influence behind the scenes to ensure both lads are exempt from conscription. That is, until her plan is busted by the wily Isobel.
Violet: We can't have him assassinated....I suppose.
Nice Hat: Violet adores hats — a particular favourite appears to be a broad, purple number incorporating a bunch of fake silken grapes.
Not So Stoic: She is usually the epitome of indomitable Victorian reserve, so her faltering, heart-broken reaction to the death of her granddaughter Lady Sybil, with hidden tears as she slowly walks from the foyer to the drawing room, is all the more powerful in its subtlety.
Passive-Aggressive Kombat: With her rival family matriarch and American opposite, Martha. The pair trade some real zingers during their time on screen together.
Martha: If I'm going to the theatre, I ought to change.
After her plan to keep him safe from conscription fails, she uses her contact at the Foreign Office (her own nephew, Shrimpie Flintshire) to arrange William's repatriation to Downton, despite Dr Clarkson insisting it would be impossible.
She also threatens the vicar with sanctions, both financial and social, if he refuses to carry out William's last request — that he marry Daisy before he dies.
After the War is over, she uses her manipulative skills to boot Isobel from the house by suggesting that her organisational abilities would be far better put to use helping War refugees (as opposed to meddling in the running of the Abbey).
Stealth Insult: Her specialty, usually delivered with a serenely smug countenance.
Tough Love: She clearly loves her family, but her Victorian temperance precludes her from being affectionate or grandmotherly in a modern sense. This is exemplified in Series 4 when she backs away in horror from her great-grandson George when he starts bawling his little head off — likely due to her being horribly unfamiliar with such a brouhaha, having had an army of nannies raise her own children.
Volleying Insults: She loves a verbal battle with Isobel, and especially Martha. The badinage between the three matriarchs provides some of the finest comedic scenes in the series.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: She and Robert can be justifiably blamed for bringing up Sir Anthony's doubts about marrying someone younger and his disability, which leads to Edith getting jilted at the altar. The episode before, she even told him to "stop the Strallan nonsense."
You Remind Me Of Myself: Violet may see something of her younger-self in her exuberant great-niece Rose, particularly with regard to Rose's rather risqué fashion sense.
Violet: Oh, my dear, in my day I wore the crinoline, the bustle, and the leg-of-mutton sleeves; I am not in a strong position to criticize.
Matthew Crawley, Esquire (Dan Stevens)
"When it comes to Cousin Mary, she is quite capable of doing her own flinging, I assure you."
Audience Surrogate: As he experiences the particulars and peculiarities of the English aristocracy, so do we.
Hollywood Healing: He shakes off the below-the-waist paralysis he suffers from an explosion at Amiens in the space of an episode. However, this series allows months, or even years, to pass between episodes, so it appears more dramatic than it should.
Honest Advisor: For Robert, over the running of the Estate, although he's not exactly thrilled with Matthew's rather frank approach.
Honour Before Reason: He's an incredibly principled chap, with high-minded ideals that sometimes cause friction between himself and the more traditionally entrenched members of the Crawley clan — his wife included.
Hurting Hero: As seen following Mary's contrariness with regards to their relationship, a genuinely terrible time in the trenches of World War One, his suffering temporary paralysis below the waist, the death of William, his servant in battle and then Lavinia Swire, his betrothed. Poor chap.
Inadequate Inheritor: In Series 1, he's viewed as this by most of the Crawleys, at least to begin with, because he is a middle-class solicitor from Manchester. Inverted in Series 3, where Matthew finds out he's due to inherit money from Reggie Swire and considers himself an inadequate inheritor, because he broke Lavinia's heart and he thinks that Reggie didn't know. Turns out he actually did, and still wants Matthew to have the money.
McLeaned: An even more obvious case than Sybil's, because there'd been buzz for months before his character's death about Dan Stevens possibly leaving the show. The writers have since admitted that they would have preferred not to kill off Matthew.
The Mourning After: He is devastated by Lavinia's death from Spanish Flu, feeling it somehow his fault after she witnessed him share a dance and a kiss with Mary. It is a real Moral Dilemma for him to finally allow himself to be happy with Mary.
Rags to Royalty: He goes from being a Mancunian lawyer to the heir of the Earl of Grantham and his estate. Not that he's thrilled about it at first.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: After his investment in the Estate in Series 3, some of the less traditionally-minded people at Downton appeal to Matthew for his support. This becomes a bone of contention between himself and Robert, whose instinctive response to change is to soft-pedal it.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When it is revealed in Series 3 that Lord Robert has lost almost all of Cora's money through bad investments, Matthew is given the opportunity to save the estate via a huge inheritance bequeathed to him by his ex-fiancée Lavinia's late father. He is resolute in not wanting to accept the money, suggesting it would be "stealing" as he feels he broke Lavinia's heart. This causes huge tensions between him and Mary.
Second Episode Introduction: We don't meet Matthew (and Isobel) until the very last minute of the first episode, where they have a single very short scene.
Unexpected Successor: Heir to the Grantham estate, thanks to a couple of casualties in the line of succession and the current Earl's lack of a male child.
What the Hell, Hero?: His initial behavior towards the Crawleys on finding out he is the new heir is flippantly ungracious, especially his treatment of Moseley, which was dismissive and lacked empathy. He soon warms up to the situation though.
"It would be foolish to accuse you of being unprofessional since you've never had a profession in your life."
Control Freak: Present in Series 1, but by the 4th episode of Series 2, her bossy attitude reaches its zenith and causes huge ructions between her and Cora, which sees her up sticks and leave for France.
Don't Call Me Milady: Played for laughs when earnest young gardener Pegg consistantly refers to her as "Your Ladyship". She keeps correcting him (she would be correctly referred to as "Madam"), but after the fourth or fifth time, she wearily relents.
Isobel: I'm not Your Ladysh—oh never mind.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: Although determined not to let herself and Matthew down socially when she first meets the Crawleys, this exchange with the Dowager Countess puts her well and truly in her place:
Isobel: Well then, what should we call each other?
Lady Grantham: Well, we could always start with Mrs Crawley and Lady Grantham.
Good Samaritan: She's a bit of a meddler, but at the same time she's an undeniably charitable woman — helping Dr Clarkson at the village surgery, traveling to France with the Red Cross during the War, working at a refuge for fallen women, offering Ethel (now a prostitute) work in her house, taking unfortunate scoundrel Charlie Grigg into her care and doggedly nursing a very ungrateful Violet back to health when she contracts bronchitis.
Isobel: If I am to live in this village, I must have an occupation.
Samaritan Syndrome: Which the Dowager Countess exploits to boot her from the house by suggesting that her organisational skills would be far better put to use helping War refugees (as opposed to meddling in the running of the Abbey).
Schedule Fanatic: Exemplified in Series 2, whilst Downton functions as a convalescent home for injured soldiers.
Second Episode Introduction: We don't meet Isobel (and Matthew) until the very last minute of the first episode, where they have a single very short scene.
Lady Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley), Lord Grantham's sister (Samantha Bond)
"Mary, be sensible. Can you really see yourself dawdling your life away as the wife of a...country solicitor?"
Absentee Actor: As Mary and Edith's interfering aunt, she is conspicuous by her absence from both girls' weddings during Series 3. Unavoidable, due to Samantha Bond's theatre commitments.
Meddling Aunt: Her advice to Mary in Series 1 — make Matthew wait until it was known whether lady Grantham's baby was a potential male heir before she accepted his proposal, which caused him to call it all off and shack up with Lavinia.
Widow Woman: Her husband Marmaduke died some time before Series 1.
Miss Sybil "Sybbie" Branson (Ava Mann)
"All we can do for her now is to cherish her bairn." — Mrs Hughes
Babies Make Everything Better: After Lady Sybil's tragic death, a shared sense of responsibility for baby Sybil's welfare helps the family come together — Branson agrees to stick around as Estate Manager, much to everyone's relief.
Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Her mother, Lady Sybil, dies shortly after she's born from post-partum eclampsia. The infant's cry from the nursery breaks the horrified silence of the family gathered around the death bed.
The British Title System: Whilst her mother would have always been styled Lady despite marrying a commoner, young Sybbie couldn't have inherited the title because her father was a commoner, hence she's styled Miss.
Birth-Death Juxtaposition: At the close of the Series 3 Christmas Special, scenes of Mary happily cooing over her and Matthew's new baby (and heir) are inter-cut with Matthew speeding along in his roadster, which collides with an on-coming lorry, leaving his lifeless, blood-soaked body by the roadside.
The British Title System: The heir to the Earldom of Grantham would be styled "Viscount Downton", and this is what Robert was known as before his own father died. However, courtesy titles may only be used by direct male-line descendants of the present holder of the title. As George is not a direct male-line descendant of Robert (because George is Robert's grandson through his daughter Mary, not a son of his own, and even then George is heir to the title not because he is Robert's grandson, but through his deceased father Matthew, making him Robert's male-line third cousin twice removed), he will never be able to use the courtesy title of "Viscount Downton" before he inherits the earldom.
Heir Club for Men: He is the male heir the family finally produces to ensure the survival of the Estate.
Living MacGuffin: His very absence and eventual, longed-for conception drives much of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd series' plots. His birth also helped to ensure that Matthew's death didn't force another Succession Crisis.
Sailor Fuku: As is typical of the English middle and upper classes (even nowadays), young children are often dressed in naval-themed outfits. note The Japanese trend for Sailor fuku uniforms is actually based on late Victorian/early 20th-century European "rational dress" girl's fashions◊ (themselves based on European naval uniforms).
Dark Secret: She represents this for her mother, Edith. In 1923 a child conceived and born out of wed-lock would create a huge scandal, which is why Edith is so keen to ensure the child's identity remains an iron-clad secret.
Disappeared Dad: Her father, Michael Gregson, disappeared mid-way through Series 4 in Germany and his fate has yet to be explained.
Parental Abandonment: Initially — with Michael gone, Edith is cajoled by her aunt Rosamund into leaving her daughter with a Swiss family so as to avoid a scandal. However, her unbearable guilt at abandoning her baby abroad spurs Edith into convincing Tim Drewe, a local farmer, to adopt the child himself so she can at least have some chance at seeing her.
Secret Identity: She is to be raised as a commoner and member of the Drewe family. Only a select few note Rosamund, Violet and Tim Drewe know her true parentage and identity.
Isis & Pharaoh
"Look after my girls...especially Isis." — Lord Robert
Canine Companion: The family dogs, they are usually to be found at Robert's side.
Meaningful Name: Both dogs' names are references to Ancient Egypt, and were likely chosen in tribute to the Earl of Carnarvon (real life owner of Highclere Castle AKA the Abbey) who financed Howard Carter's expedition.
Rescue Arc: Thomas, hoping to impress Lord Grantham, kidnaps Isis in the Series 1 Christmas Special and chains her up in a shed, hoping to miraculously reveal he's found her when it's realized she's missing.
Big Fancy House: His family seat of Duneagle Castle exhibits typically Scottish conical turrets.
Blue Blood: His title actually ranks him higher in the peerage than Robert — a Marquess outranks an Earl.
The British Empire/The British Raj: He is a member of the Foreign Service, and in the Christmas Special he has just been assigned to a high-ranking colonial position in Bombay. He regards it as an annoyance, but it does put him in line to become the Viceroy after a promotion or two.
Hey, It's That Guy!: Phoebe Nicholls's guest appearance underlines the ancestry of the series, and its direct descent from the eighties classic Brideshead Revisited adaptation, where she originally made her debut.
Grumpy Bear: Whilst everyone around her is having a jolly time of it, she maintains a puckered facade.
It Must Be Mine: Having found out during the Crawley's trip to Duneagle that O'Brien is a far better stylist than her own lady's maid, in Series 4 we learn that Susan has poached O'Brien out from underneath Lady Cora.
Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : After being busted by Matthew, Edith and Rosamund on her debauched night out at the Blue Dragon club in Soho, she thinks she's got away with it scot-free — until Violet finds out and conspires to pack her off up to Scotland to stay with an ancient aunt.
Cousin Oliver: The MacClare arm of the family was mentioned as far back as Series 1, but she otherwise fits. Introduced in the final episode of Series 3, she ends up being a Bratty Teenage Daughter who runs away from her chaperones, takes up with a married man, throws a tantrum when she gets caught, and generally makes a complete nuisance of herself. Perhaps meant to be the embodiment of The Roaring Twenties, she is more bearable in Series 4 after Character Development kicks in.
Dumb Blonde: To a degree — she certainly exhibits the giddy, naive aspects of this trope.
The Flapper: With her fashionable curly bob, headband, knee-length dress and partying habits, she represents the new breed of "Bright Young Things", who delighted in shocking society with their antics.
Lady Mary: Your niece is a flapper — accept it.
Forbidden Friendship: In Series 4, Rose takes a requited shine to Jack Ross, but the idea that a Marquess's daughter (no matter how rebellious she may be) could take part in a romantic relationship with a black man (let alone a jazz singer) in the early 1920's is nothing short of unthinkable. On the night of Robert's birthday, Mary is visibly unnerved when she catches Jack and her young cousin in a passionate clinch below-stairs. By the finale, she's convinced that she's going to marry him — although mostly just to piss her mother off.
Lonely Rich Kid: She practically bursts with excitement when her cousins arrive at Duneagle during the Series 3 Christmas Special, and probably views her palatial family home as something of a Gilded Cage.
Naughty Is Good: Although her mischief regularly lands her in hot water, she's not exactly discouraged either.
Lord Robert: Rose, I'm leaving you in charge of fun.
Rite of Passage: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, Rose has her "coming out" — that is, she is formally presented to His Majesty King George V and Queen Mary. All young women of aristocratic lineage (known as debutantes) were presented to the Sovereign in this manner to signify their transition into adulthood and marriageable status. As can be seen from Rose's outfit, ALL debs were required to wear the same court-uniform of a beautiful white evening gown, and three ostrich feathers in their hair. Rose catches the eye of the Prince of Wales himself, and they share a dance at her coming-out ball.
Spanner in the Works: After O'Brien leaves, Rose decides to put an ad in the local shop for a new lady's maid for Cora. The person who responds turns out to be Edna Braithwaite, who had been fired from Downton for being too forward with Tom Branson.
The Ugly Gal's Hot Daughter: As can be seen from her profile pic above, Susan MacClare could be best described as having a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp — her daughter Rose on the other hand, is an absolute peach.
Wig, Dress, Accent: In Episode 2 of Series 4, Rose poses as a servant to gatecrash a party for domestic staff and labourers. There she meets the handsome Sam Thawley, a gardener on a neighboring estate, and indulges in a passionate kiss. She is then forced to continue the deception and dress up as a maid when the besotted Thawley follows her back to Downton.
Whole Plot Reference: The above inevitably draws comparisons with Lady Chatterley's Lover, D H Lawrence’s once-banned 1928 novel about the sexual relationship between the married Constance Chatterley and her husband’s gardener, Oliver Mellors.
Eagleland: She provides a Mixed example. On the (type) one hand, she is forward-thinking, likeably exuberant and full of advice and energy in a very positive, modern way. But on the other, she rides roughshod over Downton's upper-class English traditions without provocation from the very get-go for no real reason other than to be bawdry and derisive.
Martha: Sybil! Tell me all about the arrangements for the birth, we do these things so much better in the States. Edith! Still no one special? Well, never mind, you must take a tip from a modern American girl. Mary! Dearest Mary, now you'll tell me all your wedding plans and I'll see what I can do to improve them.
Foil: She's the sassy, abrasive American to Violet's staid, imperious Brit. Julian Fellowes stated that he wanted Martha's arrival to be "like a visitation from another planet".
Grande Dame: Though she certainly isn't humourless — she's actually quite cheeky, even slightly smutty at times.
Ham-to-Ham Combat: Although Dame Maggie Smith isn't all that hammy, Stunt Casting below shows the entire point was to put the two ladies in a room together and watch the big cats share a cage.
I Am What I Am: She's totally at ease with herself, and is well aware that the English upper-class find her "loud, opinionated and common", but doesn't give a stuff. This is most evident in the Series 4 Christmas Special, where despite Lord Aysgarth's best efforts at wooing her, she has no wish to join her daughter amongst the ranks of the aristocracy.
Meal Ticket: Following Robert's financial crisis, Mary and the Dowager Countess attempt to (not so subtly) convince her to inject more money into the estate to avoid having sell up. She can't — it's revealed the rest of her fortune is tied up.
Also seen in the Series 4 Christmas Special, where impoverished Lord Aysgarth attempts to romance her purely for her fortune.
Nouveau Riche: Her late husband made his fortune in the dry-goods business, and she's probably one of the wealthiest characters depicted in the series, bar the very highest echelons of the aristocracy.
Violet: You Americans never understand the importance of tradition.
Martha: Yes we do. We just don't give it power over us. Maybe you should think about letting go of its hand?
Picky Eater: Her maid Reed is quick to point out a full list of what she won't eat upon her arrival — boiled water only, no fats, no crab and nothing from the marrow family.
Pretend Prejudice: For all her opinionated blather about the stuffiness of the English upper-class, supplementary materials support the notion that she's the one who pushed and encouraged her daughter Cora to travel to England, land an Earl and thus join the ranks of the aristocracy. Also, in the Series 4 Christmas Special, she informs Cora that she "wants to see one last London Season before she dies" — so it would seem that deep down, she has a fondness for the institution she is so quick to verbally bash.
Pretty in Mink: Her outfits incorporate very full, sumptuous fur neck-lines and cuffs.
Stunt Casting: For all the right reasons — what other American actress could possibly go head-to-head with Dame Maggie Smith in the battle of the matriarchs?
Theme Song Reveal: As an exceptionally splendid car sweeps up the Downton drive-way, accompanied by a suitably majestic, exuberant piece of introductory music, it is obvious who is about to make a grand entrance.
Culture Clash: He openly admits to hate leaving the USA and the life he is accustomed to, and views his visit to England and all implicit cultural idiosyncrasies as a bother.
Defrosting Ice King: He comes across as rather fatigued and unenthusiastic when he first arrives in England, viewing the visit (and those he meets) with a kind of half-hearted, snide cynicism. He soon warms up as the Special progresses, mostly because of his interest in Madeleine Allsopp and her genuine reciprocity. Turns out, he's actually rather a Nice Guy underneath, although he doesn't seem to see it himself.
Eagleland: Less so than his mother, but he still exhibits some of her plain-speaking and at times boorish behavior.
Gondor Calls for Aid: Due to some dodgy dealings in oil exploration (he was peripherally involved in the Teapot Dome scandal), Martha calls on Robert to come to America and vouch for Harold's character.
British Stuffiness: He's incredibly straight-laced, and views any kind of frivolous behavior or modernity with deep suspicion, disapproval, and occasionally, outright horror.
The Comically Serious: His stuffy nature can become so excessive that it's an inside joke among some of Downton's other residents. Among his more memorable moments include his epic rivalry with the new telephone, and the reveal of his shameful past as a stage performer, which to him seems to be on a par with murdering someone. There's this lovely little exchange too:
Carson: We may have to have a maid in the dining room.
Lord Robert: Cheer up, Carson. There are worse things happening in the world.
Carson: Not worse than a maid serving a duke.
Consummate Professional: He has a very strict code of conduct to which he adheres meticulously, and expects all the staff to follow his example.
Dark Secret: He used to be a music hall performer. And doesn't pine for those days in the slightest — he can still carry a tune, though!
Carson: I had thought I would die in Downton — and haunt it ever-after.
Milholland Relationship Moment: Carson's former stage partner Charlie Grigg turns up at Downton to blackmail him with his music-hall past. Lord Robert, far from being horrified is actually impressed.
Noble Bigot: When Thomas' sexuality is made public in Series 3, he makes it quite clear that he finds the whole matter "revolting". Arguably, he knew already, but having it made public required him to actually confront and deal with the issue head-on.
Old Retainer: He's the longest serving member of staff, and has been with the family since before the Crawley girls were born.
Papa Wolf: For Alfred — as Jimmy comes to find out.
Parental Substitute: Having grown up with him her whole life, Lady Mary is very close to Carson (and he to her) and she often comes to him for advice and a confidence boost (and even a hug!) when she can't approach her parents.
Platonic Life Partners: With Mrs Hughes. His compassion for her is fully revealed during her Series 3 cancer-scare. And in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, they share a lovely moment holding hands on the beach as the episode closes.
Renowned Selective Mentor: Although he is initially flapped by Alfred's inexperience, he comes to admire the earnest newcomer's respectful manner and takes him under his wing, showing him the tricks of the servant trade. This is unusual for Carson, and Thomas can't hide his jealousy...
Thomas: You’re taking a lot of trouble with Alfred. I feel quite jealous.
Carson: I don’t know why. He asked for help. You never did.
Undying Loyalty: To the Crawley family, especially Lady Mary, his favourite.
Mrs Elsie Hughes, the Housekeeper (Phyllis Logan)
"Don't push your luck Thomas. Now, tea's over. Back to work."
Brave Scot: She has her moments throughout the series, but locking herself in a room with Anna's rapist and threatening him to keep his mouth shut if he values his life probably takes the cake. Don't Try This at Home.
The Confidant: Throughout the series, most of the staff have confided in her with their problems — Thomas, Anna, Tom and even Carson appreciate her sympathetic ear and solid advice, knowing she can keep a secret. Taken Up to Eleven in Series 4.
The Topic of Cancer: Early on in Series 3, she finds a lump on her breast and meets with Dr Clarkson for diagnosis. She asks Mrs Patmore to tell Carson that the lump is benign, but it is left unclear as to whether she tells him this so as not to cause a fuss and worry him.
Gaydar: She's well aware of Thomas's preference... unlike poor Daisy.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Her work is hot, stressful and requires perfect timing, so woe betide any staff who muck about or indulge in idle chatter when she's got hot salvers ready to be taken upstairs.
Hopeless With Tech: Played for Drama in the Series 4 premiere. After a disastrous run-in with the new electric mixer, she lets it slip to Mrs. Hughes that she's afraid all the new electrical kitchen gadgets will make her job unnecessary, saying it makes Daisy look like part of the future and leaves her stuck in the past.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her tempestuous temper, she does care about the other staff (William in particular), and definitely cools off a bit after her eye surgery at the end of Series 1.
Kick the Dog: She's fairly beastly to poor Daisy in the early series.
Mrs Patmore: Take those kidneys up to the servery before I knock you down and serve your brains as fritters!
The Matchmaker: A personal loss (her nephew was shot for cowardice) renders her meddlesome and tenacious in her belief that soldiers should not be denied hope, so she frantically encourages Daisy to agree to be William's sweetheart before he leaves for war.
Meal Ticket: Literally, for lecherous local supplier Jos Tufton, who wooed her purely for her tasty cooking.
Meta Gal: Type B. Her take on the Series 3 love quadrilateral:
Mrs Patmore: You know the trouble with you lot? You're all in love with the wrong people!
Old Maid: Like housekeepers, cooks are always "Mrs" as a courtesy title.
Old Retainer: She mentions she's worked with O'Brien for 20 years.
Rant Inducing Slight: Daisy is always on the receiving end of these, being blamed for real but more often imagined mistakes she makes whilst struggling to manage her worsening sight.
Sarcastic Devotee: Having autonomous authority over her kitchen domain means she's unafraid to tell it like it is, and as the series has progressed, her quips and witticisms have become a more prevalent character trait.
Tampering with Food and Drink: When Mrs Bird temporarily takes over her role whilst she undergoes eye-surgery, she gets Daisy to sabotage her menu, so the family and staff won't prefer Bird's cooking.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Cooks were notoriously protective of the running their kitchens and she clashes with Mrs Hughes on occasion with regard to access to the food storage (controlled by the housekeeper).
Mr John Bates, Lord Grantham's Valet (Brendan Coyle)
"You can change your life if you want to. Sometimes you have to be hard on yourself, but you can change it completely — I know."
Berserk Button: The persecution of those less able to defend themselves causes him to see the metaphorical red mist, so woe betide those caught being mean to William or Daisy. He also gets his buttons pressed in Series 2 when his estranged wife Vera threatens to ruin the Earl's reputation, as well as the Earl's family and Anna, if he doesn't return to her.
In Series 4, he forces Mrs Hughes to tell him the details of Anna's rape ordeal. She lies about the culprit's identity on Anna's request ( it was Green), but he suspects, and is perhaps the angriest we have ever seen him, darkly threatening to have revenge on the perpetrator. It goes very well for him — see Pay Evil unto Evil below.
Bates: Nothing is over and done with Mrs Hughes. I won't press you but be aware: Nothing is over. Nothing is done with.
Bates: I wish she was the former Mrs Bates, or better still the late...
Beware the Nice Ones: On the surface, he's an incredibly polite, softly spoken man who walks with a limp. However, woe betide those who forget that he served in South Africa during the Boer War, and that he was at one time a man with both a drinking problem and a temper, or he might remind you that, bad leg and all, he could easily kill you. Both Thomas and his surly Series 3 cellmate learn this the hard way. Also seen in Series 4, when he finds out about Anna's rape.
Blackmail: He is forced to come back to his wife when she finds out about the Kemal Pamuk scandal. Yes, he's blackmailed with someone else's dirty secret.
Bully Hunter: At one point he slams Thomas into a wall in William's defense.
Bates: You listen to me, you filthy little rat: if you don’t lay off I will punch your shining teeth straight through the back of your skull.
Mysterious Past: Which is only revealed midway through Series 1, where it is revealed that he was imprisioned for theft.
Oops I Forgot I Was Married: Everyone is pretty shocked when the vile Vera turns up at Downton, looking to drag her "Batesy" back home.
The Pardon: By Series 3 Episode 6, Anna's sleuthing finally pays off and he is cleared of Vera's murder. By Episode 7, He's Back at Downton and receives a hero's welcome.
Pay Evil unto Evil: In the Fourth Series Christmas Special, it's strongly implied that he is responsible for Green's mysterious death. A train ticket in his coat pocket places him in London on the day of the murder, which luckily Lady Mary burns before it can be used to implicate him.
Strange Bedfellows: Despite years of rivalry throughout Series 1 & 2, he's one of the few people to come to Thomas's aid in Series 3, following O'Brien's plan to out him and get him sacked without reference. After Thomas tells him O'Brien's own dark secret (just 3 little words - "Her Ladyship's soap"), Bates uses it to blackmail her into calling off her unrelenting scheming against the defeated valet. However, he comes to regret being so charitable when Thomas is kept on by Lord Robert — as Under-Butler.
Sympathy for the Devil: It seems if there's one person who Bates can't stand more than Thomas, it's Sarah O'Brien, and his sense of justice will not let her get away with scheming against an already broken man. His time in prison has given him compassion for those with absolutely no power, as he explains.
Consummate Liar: O'Brien's all honey around Cora. ...and arsenic with everyone else.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: During the Series 3 Christmas Special, she meets Lady Flintshire's maid, Miss Wilkins and sees in her a kindred spirit. When O'Brien inadvertently pisses Wilkins off, she decides to retaliate by spiking her drink during the Gillies Ball. O'Brien initially insists that Wilkins needn't bother getting her a drink, and after carefully tasting it, she immediately sets it down.
Dark Secret: She's furious after she overhears gossip and mistakenly thinks Cora is going to sack her, so plants a well-placed bar of soap on her bathroom floor, causing her to slip and miscarry her baby. This comes back to haunt her in Series 3 — see below.
Didn't See That Coming: A reckless plan to save her job turned into a Type 5 situation. After miscarrying, Cora's baby was revealed to be male. Furthermore, Cora had planned to keep O'Brien on anyway. And Downton is in just as bad financial shape as its ever been. Type 2 occurs when she summons Vera to collect Bates. Instead of focusing her wrath on Bates himself, Vera finds out about Mary's dalliance with Kemal Pamuk and threatens to tell the newspapers. Mary is forced to accept Sir Richard's proposal of marriage in order to kill the story. Whoops.
Evil Mentor: For her bumbling nephew Alfred, having managed to blag him a job as a footman at the start of Series 3. This blatant Nepotism angers Thomas, as he feels he had to fight to be promoted to Footman.
Evil Versus Evil: In Series 3, O'Brien's championing of Alfred leads to an almighty fallout between her and Thomas, easily her closest companion at Downton and perhaps in life generally. See Revenge Before Reason below for detail.
Thomas:(smirking) Everything alright, Miss O'Brien?
O'Brien: Oh everything's alright with me, but it'll be all wrong with you before too long, mark my words.
For the Evulz: Some of her malice is inexplicable, such as disseminating info about Mary's sexual dalliances to Edith. It's possible that O'Brien enjoys the game of exploiting secrets for its own sake.
Hate Sink: Especially in Series 1, although she's still a highly complex, interesting character.
Hazy Feel Turn: The business with the soap obviously preys on her, and she does soften up a bit in Series 2, but by Series 3 she's back on form as the scheming old cow we know and love (to hate).
Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: She appears to show a kinder side after Cora's miscarriage, but it doesn't last and for the most part her motives are selfish and petty, and unlike Thomas, has no excuse for being so nasty.
Karma Houdini: Cunningly, she has remained Cora's most beloved and trusted servant, despite the fact that the rest of the Crawley family appear to know exactly what she's like — even Sybil, who never has a bad word to say about anybody refers to O'Brien as an "odious woman".
Maid: As a highly skilled Lady's Maid, she represents the professional zenith of the Maid world.
Maiden Aunt: Having no children of her own (or any chance at having any), she seems to treat Alfred as something of a surrogate son.
Manipulative Bitch: Her schemes include: trying to get Bates fired and to expose Lady Mary's affair with Pamuk, riling Cora up against Sybil becoming a nurse, repeatedly sending Ethel on fool's errands, getting Thomas transferred to the Downton hospital, and then getting him placed in charge of the convalescents in order to take Isobel down a peg, trying to get Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Patmore in trouble for feeding the indigent veterans and telling Vera that Bates is back at Downton. Then in the third series, after her falling out with Thomas over Alfred's arrival, she does what she can to advance his crush on the new, pretty footman, Jimmy. She manipulates Jimmy so he won't confront Thomas about his unwelcome advances, but tells Thomas that Jimmy is interested, all as part of a twisted plot to get Thomas outed and sacked... So far.
Mirror Monologue: Briefly, just before she regretfully realizes the implications of placing a bar of soap on the floor of Lady Cora's bathroom...
O'Brien: Sarah O'Brien, this is not who you are.
Morality Pet: As of Series 2, O'Brien gets a few Pet the Dog moments when she's the only one to really sympathise with Shell-Shocked Veteran Lang, as her brother went through the same thing. Lady Cora becomes one for her as well after Cora's miscarriage, though O'Brien is still not above underhanded schemes to protect her.
O'Brien first only seems to show moderate guilt when she knows that she is the direct cause of her mistress' miscarriage, but the look of this trope is truly visible on her face when she learns that Cora had never intended to get rid of her and she's now caused them exquisite pain for no reason whatsoever.
During her testimony at Bates' trial, she's clearly regretful of how bad it makes Bates look; apparently sending him to the gallows for murder is a bit beyond how vindictive she felt toward him.
Old Maid: She's in her 40's, and unlike fellow old maids Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore, she shows (and is shown) no romantic interest whatsoever. Unsurprisingly.
Perpetual Frowner: It's very rare to see her crack a smile — but if she does, it likely denotes some sort of self-satisfying scheming is afoot.
Revenge Before Reason: What starts out as a petty squabble between her and Thomas over the arrival of Alfred in Series 3 escalates into a dangerous series of pranks and retaliations at each other's expense. This back and forth reaches its alarming zenith in episode 7, when she convinces Thomas that his feelings for Jimmy are mutual, leading to him enter Jimmy's bedroom for a midnight kiss. Alfred walks in at the most inopportune moment and witnesses the resulting fallout. It isn't long before O'Brien is whispering in her nephew's ear, encouraging him to report the incident to Mr Carson. Thomas is publicly outed and her revenge is complete. In the Series 3 finale, her plan to ruin Thomas is foiled when Bates (surprisingly) comes to Thomas' aid, by threatening to reveal her own darkest secret — "Her Ladyship's soap" (see above), is all he needs to whisper in her ear to frighten her into backing down.
Sneaky Departure: Siobhan Finneran confirmed she would not return in Series 4, and as the series begins, we see O'Brien (in shadow and played by a stand-in) up and leave in the middle of the night, having accepted a post with Robert's cousin, the acidic Lady Susan Flintshire!
Thicker Than Water: Despite his obvious flaws and inexperience, she's got Alfred's back covered at all times and always leaps to his defense.
O'Brien: Pay no attention. You've a nice manner Alfred, you're not VAIN like Thomas.
Two Rights Make A Wrong: For all her lecturing at Thomas about playing it smart, O'Brien's schemes have an uncanny knack of blowing up in her face.
Ultimate Job Security: Carson comes down a lot harder on other servants for smaller offenses. Mrs. Hughes catches O'Brien ransacking her room in search of a stolen snuff box, which seems pretty damming, but nothing comes of it. This is because Lady's Maids were answerable only to their mistress — Mrs Hughes can forcefully ask O'Brien for her cooperation, but only Cora can hire/fire her, which doesn't seem likely, given Cora's blindness to O'Brien's malicious side.
Woman in Black: It's her uniform of course, but it still adds to her menace.
Thomas Barrow, the First Footman (Rob James-Collier)
"This isn't her territory. We can say what we like down here."
All Love Is Unrequited: He appears genuinely crushed in Series 1 when Crowborough spurns his affections, dismissing him as no more than a "youthful dalliance". In Series 3, he falls head over heels for pretty new footman Jimmy, and is clumsily flirtatious, despite Jimmy's clear discomfort and unreciprocal reaction — see Lured Into a Trap below for full detail.
Blackmail: In Series 4, he offers up Phyllis Baxter as a candidate to replace Edna as Lady Cora's Lady's Maid, with the sole purpose of using his knowledge of her apparently shady past to force her to act as his eyes and ears below stairs. Even by the end of Series 4, we still don't exactly what he knows about her, or their connection — we'll have to wait for Series 5.
The Bully: To William (Series 1), Alfred (Series 3) and Miss Baxter (Series 4).
But Not Too Gay: In Series 1 and 2. The pilot episode showed that Thomas certainly was able to have a love life, but he'd only had brief crushes for the next two seasons. His attraction to Jimmy Kent in Series 3, however, ended this by making his sexual orientation a bigger part of the plot.
Chronic Villainy: According to an interview with Rob James-Collier, Thomas didn't learn a damn thing from the events of Series 3, and is still as scheming and conniving as ever. This shines through in the first episode of Series 4, when he conspires to get Nanny West fired for simply giving him attitude — see her entry below for full detail.
Cricket: He's a skilled batsman, and scores a century in the Village vs House match during the Series 3 finale.
Desperately Craves Affection: He's cold, haughty and is shown to be an incorrigible bastard on many occasions, but his unsubtle flirtations with men he finds attractive (Pamuk, Jimmy) reveal a side to him we rarely see — that of a desperately lonely man in a world where he can never fully be himself.
He disapproves of the hospital's ill-treatment of William (whom he hates), causing the entire staff to look at him, stunned.
Thomas: I'm a working class lad and so is he. And I get fed up of seeing how our lot always get shafted.
He tells O'Brien she shouldn't have written to Vera, telling the latter Bates was back at Downton, and genuinely doesn't seem to want to see Bates hanged for Vera's murder.
He is fond of Lady Sybil due to their work at the hospital during the war, and is genuinely shattered when she dies in childbirth. In Series 4, it's shown that he has a soft spot for baby Sybbie. It's implied that his fondness for Lady Sybil is why he doesn't hesitate to call Edna a manipulative witch after her attempt to force Tom to marry her fails.
He's constantly trying to get Bates fired (admittedly, he was after Bates' job at the time), and flirts with Daisy, just to hurt William.
With Bates in prison, he shifts his cross-hairs to Alfred, the new footman. Not only is Thomas protective of his position as Valet, but he kicks out the ladder to prevent anyone else from following him.
Evil Mentor: In Series 3, he busily grooms his new protégé Jimmy to become 1st Footman, whilst simultaneously sabotaging rival candidate Alfred's chances.
Evil Versus Evil: In Series 3, he and O'Brien have an almighty falling-out over the arrival of her nephew Alfred as the new footman, which causes huge damage to their once tight friendship. See Lured Into a Trap below for detail.
Fool for Love: Although the opportunity for him to have a same-sex relationship in the Edwardian era is both slim and more importantly dangerous, Thomas is shown to take great risks in the pursuit of love, and is not shy about coming on to men (Kemal Pamuk, Jimmy) he finds attractive, despite the obvious jeopardy this puts him in. Exemplified during the Series 3 Christmas Day Special, where despite Jimmy's previous rebuttal and attempts to get him sacked, Thomas still jumps to his aid when the young footman is attacked by thugs at the village fair and is left beaten black and blue for his efforts.
Jimmy: Why were you following me?
Thomas: You know why...
Freudian Excuse: He was picked on for being "different," hence the rather large chip on his shoulder.
Hands-On Approach: With Jimmy, when showing him how to wind and set the house clocks properly.
Has a Type: Selfish, manipulative PrettyBoys like the Duke, Pamuk and Jimmy are his preference. Worthy, earnest nice guys don't float his boat — as seen when the prospect of looking after "Mr Matthew" causes him to throw a strop, let alone Tom Branson, for whom he outright refuses to act as valet.
Hate Sink: Especially in Series 1, where he's an utter bastard to William and Bates, although less so in later series, where the complex emotional side to his character has been further explored and presented.
I Am What I Am: Despite exhibiting Gayngst, it's clear that this is directed at society's condemnation of homosexuality, as opposed to self-loathing, and in fact he's readily prepared to defend his orientation:
Thomas: I'm not "foul" Mr Carson. I'm not the same as you, but I'm not foul.
It Amused Me: While it's never been directly addressed in series, Rob James-Collier has said he feels that Barrow's motivations for being such a Jerkass is this, saying that since his job is the exact same thing every single day, he occasionally kicks the hornet's nest just to alleviate the soul-crushing boredom of his life. He might also occasionally waltz over the line into For the Evulz.
Jerkass: He's obnoxious to everyone he works with, except O'Brien (until their Series 3 fall-out), and there's a definite Enforced Cold War between them and the other staff.
Leitmotif: Significant scenes between he and Jimmy (the midnight kiss, making friends etc) are accompanied by a sad, ominous, rather tense piano piece.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Practically no one was openly gay in the late Edwardian era, and Thomas must look for the signs that signify reciprocity — unfortunately, he's rather green in that regard. To compound matters, the type of men he likes are entirelyunsuited to loving relationships.
Lured Into a Trap: In Series 3, he exhibits an uncharacteristic lack of self-preservation when he falls for O'Brien's lies that his feelings for Jimmy are mutual, leading to him enter Jimmy's bedroom for a midnight kiss. Alfred walks in at the most inopportune moment, witnesses the resulting fallout and is encouraged by O'Brien to report the incident to Mr Carson. Thomas is publicly outed and O'Brien's revenge is complete. By the Series 3 finale, he is reduced to a tearful, defeated shell by O'Brien's plan. That is, until he (with Bates' help) recalls her ''one'' vital weakness — the fact that she caused Cora's miscarriage, and rather foolishly relayed this to Thomas. Bates only has to whisper "her Ladyship's soap" in her ear (not knowing what that means) to see her backing down in terror.
Straight Gay: In general, he's not in the least bit camp, and his sexuality is only apparent during scenes involving his encounters with other men.
Subordinate Excuse: It's not only his ambition that made him want to be the Duke of Crowborough's valet.
Sugary Malice: In the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, his resentment at having to wait on Tom Branson (whom he considers a chancer who got lucky in marrying Lady Sybil) bubbles over, and his polite, but dryly aggravating tone (all delivered with a smug smile) smacks of this trope.
Transparent Closet: In the Series 3 finale, most people's reaction to being told that he's gay is "it's not like we didn't know that already." Even Robert knew.
Tyrant Takes the Helm: Promoted to House Manager during Downton's spell as a convalescent home during the War years of Series 2, and again in the Series 3 finale, when he's promoted to Under-Butler, which gives him authority over every staff member except for Carson.
Ultimate Job Security: Can be as rude as he pleases, and no one bats an eyelash. Bates catches him stealing wine, but can't bring himself to have Thomas fired. So what does Thomas do? Pin the stolen wine on Bates! After Thomas is outed in Series 3, rather than being horrified like Carson, Lord Robert exhibits a uniquely upper-class, blasé attitude towards sexuality — he went to Eton after all, where one doesn't bat an eyelid over this sort of thing.
Robert: If I screamed blue-murder every time someone tried to kiss me at Eton, I'd have gone hoarse in a month.
Break the Cutie: He tries to be positive, but Thomas's cruel teasing eventually causes him to snap.
Dogged Nice Guy: He's clearly in love with Daisy although she doesn't want to know with Thomas in the picture. She eventually does see it, once she gets over Thomas, and while she doesn't feel for him quite as intensely, she agrees to marry him in a rushed death-bed service right before he dies.
Dramatic Irony: He repeatedly insists that he should be allowed to fight in the Great War, as he believes so much in the British cause. This for what is now recognized as one of the most pointless and wasteful wars in history.
The Dutiful Son: He'd rather be working with horses at the family farm, but took the role of Footman to please his parents, so it's a bit of an inversion in his case.
Berserk Button: Anna flatly refuses to have "no proper place" in Mr Bates' life when Vera's final scheme takes effect, and orders him to marry her despite his protests. He doesn't want to drag her into his troubles, but she swears that they "will face [this crisis] as man and wife" and finally lays down the law.
Big "NO!": At Bates' trial, when the guilty verdict is read out.
Break the Cutie: Following her Series 4 rape ordeal detailed below, the normally confident, vivacious Anna becomes (understandably) withdrawn and full of self-loathing.
Bully Hunter: She will always tenaciously leap to the defense of anyone being harassed or picked on — even Thomas and O'Brien keep her at a respectful arms-length, never targeting her directly.
The Confidant: For Lady Mary, who leans on Anna a lot. Along with her mother, she is the only one she can trust when Kemal Pamuk scandalously dies in her bed.
Clear Their Name: Her quest throughout Series 3 is to help prove Bates' innocence. By episode 6, she manages to coerce Vera's friend Audrey Bartlett into giving a testimony, which clears his name and secures his release.
Good Is Not Soft: Although she's sweet, kind and compassionate, Anna is absolutely not a walk-over and doesn't take any shit from Thomas or O'Brien, frequently calling them out on their dreadful behavior.
Anna: Fight fire with fire, that's what my mum says.
Rank Up: As of Series 3 Episode 5, she is officially promoted to Lady Mary's lady's maid. This change heralds a simpler, more mature style of dress for her, more akin to the plain black outfits of Mrs Hughes and O'Brien.
Rape as Drama: In Series 4, she is attacked and raped by Green, Lord Gillingham's valet, in harrowing scenes whilst the rest of the household is distracted upstairs during the Nellie Melba concert. After Mrs Hughes finds her in a broken, sobbing state, Anna insists she must tell no one. The repercussions for her marriage are clear when Bates turns up (not knowing what has happened) and she won't let him touch her or walk her home. Even when he does find out the truth, Anna suggests that she is Defiled Forever, and it takes some time for her to be comfortable with Bates again.
Turn the Other Cheek: Despite the fact that Thomas actively tried to get Bates fired all throughout Series 1 & 2, she is shown to possess a dignified level of compassion, lending him a shoulder to cry on and hushing Alfred when he insensitively tells him to cheer up following Sybil's death.
Wish Fulfillment: Towards to the end of Series 1, her determination (and Sybil's support) pays off, and she lands the position of secretary for a fledgling telephone company.
You Go Girl: She’s breaking every rule — In 1912, women were not expected or encouraged to have a profession and work in an office, so she represents the pioneering new wave of female independence coming through at that time.
Daisy Mason (née Robinson), a Kitchen/Scullery Maid (Sophie McShera)
"Thomas is lovely in every way. He’s funny and handsome, and he’s got such lovely teeth."
Better as Friends: She and Alfred, although it's a tough, upsetting decision for her as she did love him.
Break the Cutie: A couple of instances cause her great upset — notably the guilt she felt at marrying William on his death-bed, and in Series 3, Alfred's disinterest in her and pursuit of Ivy breaks her heart.
Butt Monkey: Due to being one of the youngest, most junior staff members, and for having a rather gullible personality.
Cannot Spit It Out: Where Alfred is concerned, but in general she has this problem on most matters.
Hero's Muse: For William, who always says he will bear anything if she is with him.
Horrible Judge of Character: In Series 1, she's in love with Thomas of all people, which seems less forgivable in light of the revelation in Series 3 that just about everyone else knew that Thomas was gay.
Green-Eyed Epiphany: In Series 3, her interest in newcomer Alfred is only piqued when she sees him enjoying Miss Reed's attentions.
Green-Eyed Monster: She's furious that Ivy is the subject of Alfred's affections, and takes her anger out on the poor girl.
In Series 3, her aggressive attitude towards junior member of staff Ivy draws parallels with her own poor treatment at the hands of Mrs Patmore during Series 1.
Jimmy flirting with Ivy, supposedly to bully Alfred who is genuinely interested in her, parallels the former Love Triangle between Daisy, William and Thomas. Especially if we consider Jimmy as Armoured Closet Gay...
Literal-Minded: Not quite as extreme as the trope usually suggests, but she does get ridiculously stuck on the fact that she didn't quite feel for William what he felt for her, and acting like that completely invalidates their marriage. There's also the fact that, as the Dowager Countess points out to her later, her marrying him in order to "keep his spirits up at the end" was actually a very strong expression of love.
Love Triangle: In Series 3, she's part of the Love Quadrilateral of herself -> Alfred -> Ivy -> Jimmy, with Thomas also making his own moves on the latter.
My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In the war years of Series 2, a dramatic scene of William (and Matthew) getting caught in an explosion quickly cuts to Daisy back at Downton, who is visibly shaken and falters mid-task.
Rank Up: As of Series 3, she is promoted to Assistant Cook.
Rear Window Witness: Whilst up early to light the bedroom fires, she catches Lady Mary, her mother and Anna moving Pamuk's body across the landing back to his own room in the bachelor's corridor, after he has scandalously died in Mary's bed.
She Knows Too Much: Having witnessed the corpse-related escapade above, it plays on her mind, and in the end it is she who informs Edith (after coaxing) of Mary's bedroom antics, thus starting the whole Kemal Pamuk scandal.
Unwitting Pawn: In Thomas's Series 1 plan to get Bates sacked. The scheming footman convinces her to give a false report to Carson, incriminating Bates in the theft of wine.
Widow Woman: Becomes one after William's death, only a few hours after their marriage.
Tom Branson, the Chauffeur (Allen Leech)
"Sometimes a hard sacrifice must be made for a future that's worth having."
Birds of a Feather: Begins a friendship with Sybil based on their shared interest in politics and women's rights. Later episodes reveal their rebellious natures and disregard for society's class divisions.
Blood on the Debate Floor: His conversations on political reform impress Lady Sybil, but land her in a dangerous situation at an aggressive rally in Ripon. (He's absolutely aghast when Sybil is injured; his anguished "Oh no, please God no" is the first overt clue to his feelings for her.)
Commonality Connection: He and Matthew bond and find mutual support over their both marrying Crawley girls, as well as the fact that Matthew recognizes that he, like Branson, was once an outsider at Downton.
Matthew: If we're mad enough to take on the Crawley girls, we've got to stick together.
Dogged Nice Guy: He's really determined to win Lady Sybil, having fallen head over heels in love, and spends a great deal of time trying to convince her that she should do the same.
Fanservice: His medical exam for entrance to the army features three! whole! buttons undone on his shirt. (Hey, you take what you can get with these period pieces.) And in the Series 3 Christmas Special, he is actually shirtless for roughly three seconds.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: Once married to Lady Sybil, he makes loads, from not changing for dinner to using the wrong forms of address — not that he gives a shit.
Violet: He's still dressed as the man from the Prudential I see.
Fish out of Water: In Series 4, whilst attending a particularly glitzy party at the Abbey, he describes himself as such word-for-word.
The Irish Question: His storyline addresses this the most. He's very active in Irish Nationalism (although, as he points out, he's hardly limited to that in his politics) and he had a cousin killed in the Easter Rising. There's also a moment where he and Sybil spar over it when she doesn't understand (due to mostly being given the English side of things) why Tom has such a strong dislike of the English government and military.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After Edna is fired for coming on to him in Series 3, Tom asks Mrs. Hughes to write her a good reference, out of guilt that he may have led her on. This comes back to bite both of them hard in the fourth Series premiere, when Edna uses that reference to get herself back into Downton when Cora interviews her.
Not Helping Your Case: He doesn't exactly receive a red-carpet welcome (perhaps understandably) when he revisits Downton as Lady Sybil's husband, but he doesn't help himself with his tetchy, chippy attitude and over-zealous politicking. Matthew even calls him out on it:
Matthew: You don't make it easy for them. D'you really think you can recruit Cousin Robert for Sinn Féin?
Token Minority: To some degree, a token Irishman. There might well be other Irish servants, and there are certainly Irish-descended ones (O'Brien for one, and Bates' mother was apparently Irish), but he's the only one who is a member of the Irish Nationalist movement.
Tsundere: Privately, Sybil reveals to Mary that he really isn't as anti their family as he appears to be — in fact, he's hoping for their approval.
Sybil: He puts a tough face on it and says things that make everyone angry, but he so wants your good opinion. I can't tell you how much.
What the Hell, Hero?: Mid-way through Series 3, his revolutionary ideals turn ugly and he arrives at Downton on the run from Ireland, having been present at the ransacking and burning of a noble Anglo-Irish family's castle. The Crawleys are disgusted, especially as he left the heavily pregnant Lady Sybil behind.
Draft Dodger: He's petrified of heading off to the trenches in Series 2, and when Isobel busts the Dowager's plan to keep him safe, he is forced to concoct a lung condition, which Dr Clarkson finally accepts as grounds for exemption.
Series Continuity Error: A mild example, but prior to Series 4, his given name was noted as being "Alfred" in the scripts and series companion books. However, in Episode 6 of Series 4, he reveals his first name is in fact Joseph.
Slipping a Mickey: He makes an absolute tit of himself at the Gillies Ball during the Series 3 Christmas Special thanks to a drugged drink.
The Rival: Initially for Mrs Patmore, who was very worried the family would prefer Bird's cooking whilst she was away in London for her eye-surgery. They eventually discover they are Not So Different, and bond through shared exasperation over Mrs Hughes' control of the food store.
Mrs Hughes: You've broken the rules, my girl, and it's no good pretending they're easily mended.
False Widow: How she explains away her illegitimate child, Baby Charlie. Luckily, this is the late 1910s, the era of World War One and the Spanish flu - both providing good excuses for the existence of young single mothers. Ethel chooses the latter, as it also explains why she isn't getting a war widow's pension.
The Oldest Profession: As Series 3 begins, it is confirmed she is working as a prostitute, after Isobel spots her at the charitable centre for 'ladies of the night' she is supporting. This ultimate fall from grace finally convinces her to hand Baby Charlie over to Mr & Mrs Bryant (his paternal grandparents) in heart-breaking scenes mid-way through Series 3.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Let's see, an ambitious redhead that doesn't want to stay in service but go out and make it big. Hmm. Where have we heard that before? Though the show is quick to differentiate her from Gwen; Gwen has a more realistic goal (becoming a secretary) and is also willing to do the work it takes to achieve that goal, whereas Ethel expects glory to just be handed to her.
The Tease: With the officers convalescing at Downton, which leads to a Surprise Pregnancy — her illegitimate son with Major Bryant is born mid-way through Series 2.
Trash Talk: Easily amongst the gobbiest of the staff.
Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Has no shame in asking Lord Grantham to influence a prestigious grammar school to award her son a place. After breaking off an attempted affair with her, Robert then uses his connections to set up Jane's son in future employment after he leaves school.
War Is Hell: One of the characters used to fully embody this trope.
Miss Marigold Shore, Lady Rosamund's Lady's Maid (Sharon Small)
"Is Mr Bates the one Lady Rosamund told me about? The murderer?"
Advice from Libby: She's a complete stirrer, and is shown to have rather loose morals (see below), but she does advise and encourage Daisy to stand up for herself and demand career advancement, even if the approach she suggests is unsuitably petulant.
Fee Fi Faux Pas: His lack of experience and using incorrect "silver service" style at dinner anger Carson when he first arrives.
Gentle Giant: He's a naive, earnest sort of chap — so nothing at all like his auntie.
I Just Want to Be Special: In Series 4, he's determined to better himself by becoming a chef, and heads to London to take the culinary exams for a placement at the Ritz. He comes in fifth with only 4 places on offer, but manages to scrape a place when the fourth-placed candidate drops out.
Nephewism: His close familial connection to O'Brien was required to justify her epic Series 3 fall-out with Thomas. Only something as personal as the bullying of a family member could spur O'Brien into going Mama Bear on Thomas, her only friend and ally.
One Head Taller: Than pretty much everyone else at Downton. He's a clear foot taller than Ivy, his crush.
Put on a Bus: To the Ritz Hotel, Mid-way through Series 4, as mentioned above.
The Reliable One: Carson definitely comes to see him as such, once he has helped him find his feet, and is quick to point out his diligence and good work ethic when rival footman Jimmy's praises are being sung.
The Rival: With Jimmy — for the position of First Footman.
The Charmer: He has a natural air of confidence and grace that Alfred does not possess, and so sees the role of First Footman as his natural right.
Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Carson has his number, and gives him a severe bollocking on more than one occasion for picking on Alfred, who he has firmly taken under his powerful wing.
Deceptive Disciple: Thomas is very quick to take Jimmy under his wing and “teaches” him how to win Carson over — by sabotaging Alfred. Cordial relations are fleetingly short, however, as Thomas' unwelcome flirting starts to grate...
Dirty Social Tricks: As Series 3 progresses, he does whatever he can to discredit Alfred, both socially and professionally, in his goal to be First Footman — as shown when he sabotages Alfred's service, causing him to slop langoustines all over the Dowager Countess.
Do Not Call Me Paul: He's not happy at all that Carson insists he go by his proper name "James" when in presence of the Crawley family.
Carson: I don't care if you were Father Christmas to Lady Anstruther, here you are "James".
Hired for Their Looks: Footmen were employed to be noticed, with good looks and poise that brought pride to the family they served. Carson has to concede that Jimmy fits the bill perfectly.
Honey Trap: Unknowingly, as part of O'Brien's plan to out Thomas.
Incompatible Orientation: In Series 3, Thomas falls for O'Brien's lies that his feelings for Jimmy are mutual, leading to him enter the young footman's bedroom for a midnight kiss. Jimmy angrily rebuffs his unexpected advances and barks it's Not What It Looks Like at Alfred, after he witnesses the resulting fall-out. Jimmy then gets a bad case of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? the next morning, after O'Brien frightens him into aggressively convincing Carson to refuse Thomas a reference, by suggesting that his silence on the matter may imply compliance....and enjoyment. (Some fans think he might be Armoured Closet Gay instead of Incompatible Orientation, due to his reactions.)
Laser-Guided Karma: He walks in and insults Alfred's attempt to learn to dance with Daisy, while also shooting down Daisy's hopes that Alfred's interested in her rather than Ivy. He then starts to dance with Daisy himself... only for Carson to walk in and start berating him for it, specifically comparing him to Alfred who is not dancing.
Love Triangle: In Series 3, he's part of the Love Quadrilateral of Daisy -> Alfred -> Ivy -> himself. He also finds himself on the receiving end of Thomas' not-so-subtle advances.
Lust Object: Thomas welcomes him with a beaming smile and clearly takes an instant shine to the handsome newcomer.
Meet the New Boss: Essentially, Jimmy is a rebooted Thomas, with Alfred as the new William.
Rank Up: As of the Series 3 finale, he finally gets his way and is promoted to First Footman.
Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: During the Series 3 Christmas Special, he is attacked by thugs at the village fair and Thomas leaps to his defense, ending up beaten black and blue in the process. This spurs Jimmy into making peace with Thomas, although he insists he can never give him the romantic relationship he is looking for.
The Rival: With Alfred — for the position of First Footman.
Shirtless Scene: Within 10 minutes of his arrival, Thomas catches him en déshabillé.
The Social Darwinist: As Series 3 progresses, it becomes clear he is something of a lone wolf, and is not above using underhand actions to achieve what his sees as his natural right — the role of First Footman.
Put on a Bus: Following her clear interest in Tom Branson, Mrs Hughes finally decides that she's probably not cut out for life as a maid and dismisses her without warning. Tom, feeling guilty that he may in some way have lead her on, asks Mrs Hughes to give her a good reference. The Bus Came Back in Series 4 to the horror of Carson and Mrs Hughes.
Rank Up: She has honed her skills following an unceremonious sacking in Series 3, and trained (so she says) as a Lady's Maid.
Schemer: In Series 4, when the opportunity presents itself to return to Downton, she cleverly manoeuvres herself into the position of Lady Cora's new Lady's Maid behind Mrs Hughes' back, knowing full well she would never be allowed back to Downtown otherwise.
Social Climber: Her ultimate goal is to become a member of the Crawley family, and sets her sights on Tom Branson to achieve this, considering that he's baby Sybbie's father.
Villain Ball: Mrs Hughes comes to Tom's aid, following the above, by confronting Edna with a copy of Marie Stopes' birth-control manual she has found in her room — the implication being that Edna isn't pregnant at all and is looking to trap Tom. Her planned foiled, Edna immediately leaves Downton in high-dudgeon......again.
Mrs Hughes: The truth is, we were mad as hatters to let her back in the house.
Bullying a Dragon: Bossing Thomas around is never a good idea, and he conspires to have her sacked.
Control Freak: She is very controlling with her young charges, and when Thomas shows a soft spot for Sybbie, she tells him to back off politely, but very firmly. She also won't even let Isobel see her grandson when she pays a call, citing unsuitable timing.
Evil All Along: Throughout her episode she's full of bluster and very bossy to Thomas (which he probably deserves) but she appears to be good with the children, so initially it's even possible to feel slightly sorry for her when Thomas gives a false report on her actions to Cora out of spite. However, it's genuinely shocking when, just before the episode finishes, Cora catches her calling Sybbie a "chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little cross-breed" in chillingly aggressive tones — an offense which leads to her immediate dismissal. Turns out Thomas was inadvertently right.
Death Glare: ...whilst fixing him with a vaguely psychotic gaze.
Dirty Social Tricks: Worried when he thinks Molesley is after his job at the Dower House, he sets out to sabotage his service by instructing him to pick up a boiling salver, which he drops in screaming, inappropriate surprise in front of his prospective employer, Lady Shackleton.
The Jeeves: For the Dower House, home of Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess.
Tranquil Fury: Never once raises his voice — and is all the more menacing for it.
Mr Green, Viscount Gillingham's Valet (Nigel Harman)
"You’re not telling me that sad old cripple keeps you happy?"
Asshole Victim: By the Series 4 finale, he's reported dead, having supposedly slipped and fallen in front of traffic on London's Piccadilly. The Fourth Series Christmas Day Special strongly implies Bates was the responsible party, exacting vengeance for Anna.
Bait the Dog: He uses his jocular charm to lull Anna (and the audience) into a false sense of security, whilst biding his time to strike (see below).
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Harman states his character is "too good to be true and has absolutely no redeeming qualities" — he's right.
The Charmer: Shamelessly flirts with Anna upon his arrival at Downton, to Bates's chagrin.
Weasel Co-Worker: He loves having a good time and a laugh and quite often palms off his work to other people so he can spend time hanging around.
Miss Phyllis Baxter, Lady Grantham's Lady's Maid (Raquel Cassidy)
"I'm grateful for this job Thomas and we both know why, but what's this all about?"
Dark Secret: Thomas knows something she wants to keep secret about her background and uses it to his advantage. As of the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, we still don't know exactly what information Thomas has on her — we'll have to wait until Series 5.
Dirty Business: She's clearly uncomfortable having to act as Thomas' below-stairs spy.
Forced Into Evil: Well, not exactly evil, but certainly she's forced into duplicity by Thomas.
Nice Guy: Perhaps a little over-nice in Carson's opinion.
Recurring and Guest Characters
Introduced in Series 1
Dr. Richard Clarkson (David Robb)
"At the risk of being impertinent... on your own head be it..."
Birds of a Feather: Takes quite a shine to Isobel Crawley despite their constantly butting heads, remarking that she understands him and his work in a way no one else can. Isobel, however, remains oblivious... so far.
Clarkson: I sometimes forget, when we meet in the splendour of the Abbey, that you were a doctor's wife. That you know what my life consists of in a way that no-one else can — at any rate, not around here.
Isobel: I know. It's a relief to be able to talk without having to explain oneself, isn't it?
Clarkson: A relief... and a privilege.
Brutal Honesty: He'll tell the absolute truth. He just might not tell you all of it.
Ignored Expert: If Lord Grantham had actually listened to his warnings, he may have prevented Lady Sybil's death from post-birth eclampsia. However, he did get quite a few diagnoses wrong in the first two series (he initially refused John Drake life-saving treatment for dropsy, failed to spot Lieutenant Courtenay's suicidal state of depression, and most significantly for the family, suggested Matthew's paralysis was permanent), so that by the time he finally gets one right in Series 3, Robert has perhaps understandably lost faith in him and poor Sybil pays the price.
To Be Lawful or Good: After an impassioned plea from Violet in the third series, he bends as far as he can in order to minimize the possibility that intervention could have saved Sybil from eclampsia and heal a rift in Robert and Cora's marriage.
Mr George Murray, Lord Grantham's lawyer (Jonathan Coy)
"As you well know..."
As You Know: During the pilot, when the ominous "entail" is finally explained to those not familiar with archaic inheritance laws, he uses almost this exact language, "as you well know..." Yes, Lord Grantham would know about how his money, his real estate, his title, and his life's work will descend upon his death and need not have this basic information conveyed back to him.
Bearer of Bad News: In Series 3, he breaks the news of Robert's bad investment choices and Downton's impending ruin...
Clear Their Name: He works with Anna in Series 3 to help secure Bates' release from prison.
Bi the Way: He dismisses his love affair with Thomas as a mere " youthful dalliance". Considering the time period, he may just be gay and feigning interest in women; the fact that he seems to be selecting them purely based on money/connections doesn't help matters.
The British Title System: As a Duke, he is the highest ranking non-royal peer to appear in the series so far. Dukes use a special title to distinguish themselves from other peers — "The Most Noble".
Destroy the Evidence: Having flirted with Mary to gain access to the servants' quarters, he retrieves potentially scandalous letters he has written to Thomas, his lover, from the valet's room. He then burns said letters in a handy bedroom fireplace before Thomas can snatch them out of his hands.
Crowborough: You know, my mother's always telling me, never put anything in writing. And now, thanks to you, I never will again.
Manipulative Bastard: He flirts with Mary purely to gain access to the servants' corridor so he can retrieve the above mentioned love-letters.
Charles "Charlie" Grigg (Nicky Henson)
"Oh, I'm a little more than that, aren't I, Charlie? We're like brothers, him and me."
Blackmail: Having worked as a Vaudeville double-act with Carson in the 1890's, he turns up at Downton out of the blue, asking Carson for a place to hide and money, threatening to expose his past to make him a laughing stock.
Career-Ending Injury: Not that he had an actual career, of course, but the War injury that knocked out the use of his left arm was a big factor in his decision to pull away from Edith.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He clearly still has feelings for Edith, but declares that Edith is too young and pretty to spend her life as his nurse (his arm was injured in the war). She's not impressed by this argument, and their storyline is left inconclusive in the Christmas special. In Series 3, his doubts come back to haunt him and he jilts poor Edith at the altar.
May-December Romance: With Edith during Series 1 and rekindled (perhaps) as of the Christmas Special, but dashed as of Series 3.
Second-Hand Storytelling: Mary rather cruelly puts him off proposing to Edith in Series 1, relaying to him (untruthfully) how her sister mentioned "some stuffy old bore that won't leave her alone" in clear reference to his courting of Edith.
Upper-Class Twit: Somewhat, he's a subtle example, but his grinning exuberance and jolly attitude qualify him.
Death by Despair: Matthew is convinced Lavinia "died of a broken heart" after finding out that he still loves Mary. It turns out in the third series that she wrote to her father shortly before her death, telling him of Matthew's kindness and nobility, so probably not. It was just the flu.
English Rose: Lavinia certainly fits the bill — she's sweet-natured, gentle, naturally beautiful and has a tragic, Victorian-heroine style death bed scene.
Mysterious Past: Her shady relationship with Carlisle is only revealed when she works up the courage to come clean to Matthew.
Phone Call From The Dead: Rather fancifully, it is implied in the Christmas Special that her spirit "talks" to Anna and Daisy through a Ouija Board and writes the words "May they be happy. With my love" in reference to Matthew and Mary.
The Spymaster: How he made his fortune in newspapers: he has an extensive network of informants, which gives him scoops, which sells papers, which he uses to get more informants, and so on and so forth. He consequently knows everything going on in London and elsewhere in Britain, as well. Mary explicitly refers to him as such, when Carson reveals that Carlisle had approached Anna and requested she report on her mistress's actions.
Straw Character: Not fond of Liberals, or liberals more generally. Not surprising, considering he had broken a major scandal in the Liberal government.
Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy)
"You see, if you don't come back to me, I'm going to the newspapers with a cracking story, and I'd like to bet the Granthams won't survive it."
"There is something rather un-English about the Catholic church."
Against My Religion: As an Anglican, he finds the concept of Sybbie being baptised into the Catholic faith uncomfortable — and isn't afraid to say so.
Bullying a Dragon: He has a rather suspicious nature, and questions Violet over the intentions behind William's deathbed wedding to Daisy, suspecting she might be seeking to gain a widow's pension. Violet well and truly puts him in his place, by reminding him that his whole lifestyle is entirely in Lord Grantham's gift. He naturally backs down.
The Church: His is the Reverend of Downton village and as such has presided over a few key religious events in the series, notably; William's death-bed wedding to Daisy, Lavinia's funeral, and the marriage of Matthew and Mary.
Egocentrically Religious: He shows his dark side by insulting the Catholic faith, feeling there is "something Un-English" about it and describing its traditions as "pagan" which he feels do not please God. He also believes God prefers the worship of the Anglicans over others.
Spot the Imposter: Lord Grantham and Lady Mary in particular are not taken in by his claims to be Patrick Crawley, believing him to have taken on the identity of Patrick sometime after the Titanic disaster.
My Son Is Not A Cad: Initially, he is in utter denial about his son's caddish nature and insists that if Charles had got Ethel pregnant, he'd have taken responsibility. Which is of course complete bollocks.
Precision F-Strike: He refers to baby Charlie as a "bastard" — twice. Everyone is horrified.
I Have No Grandson: He fully refutes Ethel's claim that baby Charlie is his grandson and leaves Downton in a fury when she confronts him with the child. He soon relents, but tries to buy Ethel off on the understanding that he and his wife will raise the child and she will have nothing to do with her baby's upbringing — she refuses (initially).
Mrs Daphne Bryant (Christine Mackie)
"He's afraid of his own grief. That's why he behaves as he does. He's terrified of his own grief."
Separated-at-Birth Casting: Ruairi Conaghan is particularly well-cast as Tom's older brother, and shares similar features, the same sandy hair colour and even the same pale blond eyebrow colour with his on-screen sibling.
Mr Michael Gregson, Editor of The Sketch(Charles Edwards)
"Edith, the basic fact is that I’m in love with you. You know that already."
Dark Secret: As Edith uncovers in the Series 3 finale, his wife has been sectioned and he's trapped, unable to divorce her.
Grand Romantic Gesture: So desperate is he to be with Edith, that he suggests he will petition to become a German citizen, a country where divorce on the grounds of mental instability is allowed. It doesn't sound like much, but at the time (1922), Germans were, as Edith says, the most hated race in Europe — so in fact, it's a huge deal.
Intrepid Reporter: As an Editor, he sees the value of having a "toff" like Edith on board to lend his publication cachet.
Love Interest: He makes it quite clear that he's interested in Edith from the very get-go.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: With his friendly, grinning exuberance and jolly attitude, he's definitely channelling Sir Anthony Strallan — he's even physically similar to Rob Bathurst. Bit of a running theme for Edith, what with Strallan, Drake and Gregson all being capable, cheerful older men who are kind, attentive and most definitely not like her father.
Innocently Insensitive: The above quote, said to Tom Branson of all people, was well meaning but a little ill-timed. She also prattles on, assuming he is entirely familiar with various Anglo-Irish aristocrats she counts as friends without the faintest notion that Tom has no idea who she is talking about.
The British Title System: A baronetcy is the only hereditary honour which is not a peerage. A baronet is styled "Sir" like a knight, but ranks above all knighthoods except for the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle. However, the baronetage as a class is considered a member of the gentry and ranks above the knightage.
Can't Hold His Liquor: He gets completely wankered at the Lotus Club, and rushes to the loo to puke....in the middle of dancing with Lady Rose.
Out-Gambitted: In both his appearances. In Series 4, Michael Gregson discovers his trickery at cards and threatens to reveal that he had swindled the others (which would bar him from society) lest he hand the money back. The second occurrence is detailed below.
Sticky Fingers: In the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, whilst at a society party, he pilfers incriminating love letters from the evening bag of Freda Dudley-Ward, the mistress of the Prince of Wales. It's down to the Crawleys, with Bates' help, to retrieve the letters and prevent a royal scandal.
Dame Nellie Melba (Dame Kiri Te Kanawa)
"I'd like to dedicate this to love, and to lovers."
At the Opera Tonight: She is invited to Downton to sing at a party thrown to lift Lady Mary's spirits following Matthew's death.
The British Title System: Her title is not hereditary — Melba was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1918.
Historical-Domain Character: Helen "Nellie" Porter Mitchell was one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. Her appearance marks the first time the series has ever depicted real people.
Land Down Under: Carson presumes that she'll be some sort of vulgarian, and organizes for her to eat alone in her room during the pre-concert dinner. However, once she is invited back downstairs by Lady Cora, she shows herself to be something of a claret connoisseur, much to Lord Robert's surprise and relief.
Carson: An Australian singer? Eating with her ladyship? Never mind the Duchess, no I do not!
Expy: He seems largely inspired by Leslie Hutchinson, a successful black singer whose career was destroyed by his affair with an aristocratic woman.
Fake American: Gary Carr is English — and unfortunately his rather stage-school attempt at a generic American accent makes this obvious.
Fish out of Water: In 1922, he's likely one of few black people many of the series's characters (especially servants like Daisy) would have seen in real life, and the staff are taken aback when he visits the servant's hall. Carson especially is so shocked that he almost smashes his tea-cup!
Politically Correct History: The idea that a Marquess's daughter (no matter how rebellious she may be) could take part in a romantic relationship◊ with a black man in the early 1920's is nothing short of unthinkable.
Lady Edith: Who is this singer and how did he get here? Granny, is it really suitable that Rose has brought this man here?
Where Da White Women At?: He takes a requited, yet highlycontroversial shine to young Lady Rose, and when his band plays at Downton for Robert's birthday, Mary catches he and Rose in a passionate embrace below stairs. Luckily, he's sensible enough to realise the consequences of their relationship and breaks it off.
Mr Timothy Drewe (Andrew Scarborough)
"I tell you what, I think it should be our secret Milady. Ours, and no one else's."
The Confidant: For Edith. Following her Surprise Pregnancy and having given up her child to a Swiss family, she decides she cannot bear being apart from her daughter, so she decides to approach Drewe, hoping he'll adopt the baby. At first, she does not fully explain the situation, but Drewe figures it out and agrees to keep her secret. He plans to make up a story about the child's origins so not even his wife will know.
Good Samaritan: He selflessly agrees to raise Edith's daughter after hearing her story almost immediately.
Legacy of Service: His family has been tenants, according to Lord Grantham, since the reign of King George III.
The Stoic: He's softly-spoken and rather grim, but is a decidedly decent chap.
Undying Loyalty: To the Crawley family, as his own family's long service testifies.
Work Off the Debt: The rent on his farm hasn't been paid for ages, but Lord Robert agrees to let him take on the tenancy (and thus pay him back over time) based on his loyal service.
Charles Blake, Esquire (Julian Ovenden)
"Mr Lloyd George is more concerned with feeding the population than rescuing the aristocracy. That doesn't seem mean-spirited to me."
Category Traitor: Mary considers him one, as even though he is a member of the British Aristocracy, the collapse of estates like Downton isn't something he wishes to stop.
Blue Blood: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, he reveals to Mary that he's the heir to a rich Northern Irish baronetcy.
British Political System: He works for the Government with his friend Evelyn Napier, and is tasked with undertaking a study to examine estates like Downton and others in North Yorkshire that may be facing difficulties in a changing society, and how those difficulties may affect the country's food supply.
The British Title System: An heir to a baronetcy does not have any special title, but to reflect his status, he would be styled "Esquire" like Matthew. Once he takes over the baronetcy, he would be officially styled "Sir Charles Blake, Baronet".
Fire-Forged Friends: Following an emergency on one of the estate farms involving some sickly pigs, he and Mary bond when she must necessarily muck-in (literally) to save the livestock. Mary even cooks for him (scrambled eggs—the only recipe she knows, albeit they do look well-done) back at the Abbey later on.
Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Mary assumes he will help her to secure Downton's future. However Blake quickly makes it clear that while he is examining the collapse of estates like Downton, he does not necessarily wish to prevent it.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Blake seemingly opposed to everything the Crawleys stand for, there is initial antagonism between him and Mary.
Miss Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis)
"As a rule, I don't really warm to their type."
Commonality Connection: She and Tom are like-minded when it comes to politics, and first meet at a talk in Ripon given by a liberal political candidate. The above quote reveals her disapproval of the aristocracy.
Distressed Damsel: A very mild example lacking in peril, but every time she and Branson meet, he is required to step in and help her out — her friend fails to turn up at a political chat so he steps in to accompany her. Her car break down, he stops to fix it. In the village, she drops her school-books and he is there to help her to pick them up.
Improbably Cool Car: We don't know the full details, but it's highly unlikely that a single woman on a teacher's salary would have her own car in the UK during the early 1920's. Cars were the preserve of the wealthy, and only became accessible to most people from the 1960's onwards.
English Rose: She's a petite, demure little beauty and shows good character and a strong moral sense when she refuses to play along with her impoverished father's schemes.
Gold Digger: Reluctantly — her father, Lord Aysgarth, pushes her onto wealthy Harold Levinson from the very get-go.
Impoverished Patrician: She and her father are titled and respectable (hence their invitation to the various London Season parties presented in the Special) but their fortune has all dried up, which is why Lord Aysgarth is so keen for her to bag Harold.
Rite of Passage: Like her friend, Lady Rose, she too is a young deb, and is in London to be formally presented to the King and Queen.
Love Letter Lunacy: A clumsy attempt at impressing Rose and Madeleine with her correspondence from the Prince almost ends in disaster when said letters fall into the hands of the caddish Terence Sampson — luckily Bates retrieves them before a scandal ensues.
The Mistress: Of the Prince himself. Their relationship lasted some 15 years — until he dumped her for his most famous consort, Wallis Simpson, in 1934.
The Casanova: Had a reputation as a womaniser, and the beautiful Lady Rose catches his roving eye when she attends the Palace for her coming-out party.
Call Forward: After Bates saves Prince Edward's bacon by retrieving his scandalous love letters to Freda from Sampson's jacket, Mary makes a snarky comment about how Edward, given his character, will probably get himself in a mess again. Edward did just that with the Wallis Simpson affair.
Historical-Domain Character: Prince Edward Albert Christian George Patrick Andrew David, styled commonly as HRH Edward, Prince of Wales, (23 June, 1894 – 28 May, 1972) was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was named Prince of Wales on his sixteenth birthday. He became King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936.
Love Letter Lunacy: In-series, his affair with Freda Dudley-Ward is almost revealed when the caddish Terence Sampson pilfers love-letters from Freda's purse — it's down to Bates to retrieve the letters and prevent the scandal.
Sketchy Successor: His father, George V, was a solid, reliable, conservative monarch — he on the other hand, was universally thought of as a flighty, selfish womaniser whose affair with divorced commoner Wallis Simpson and subsequent abdication caused a constitutional crisis.
His Most Gracious Majesty King George V (Guy Williams) & Her Majesty Queen Mary (Madge French)
"The Prince is never short of....popularity"
Blue Blood: Well, they are the actual King & Queen
Historical-Domain Character: George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) ruled the United Kingdom and its dominions from 6 May 1910 until his death. Mary was his queen consort.
Ice Queen: Queen Mary — who was the embodiment of Victorian reserve.
Royal Decree: In-series, they appear when Lady Rose is formally presented at Buckingham Palace in 1923. By royal decree, those who wanted to be presented at court were required to apply for permission to do so, and would be sent a royal summons from the Lord Chamberlain if successful.
Try to Fit That on a Business Card: He is fully styled as: His Majesty George V, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.