Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Downton Abbey Recurring And Guest Characters

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Introduced in Series 1 

Mr George Murray

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/s_lawyer_457.png

Portrayed by: 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...
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: When he finds out that Audrey Bartlett has been lying to him (see her entry below), he comes to the conclusion that she's been either bribed or threatened. He therefore decides he and the Bateses need to find a way to "persuade" her, or at least the people who are putting the pressure on her, to tell the truth.
  • Clear Their Name: He works with Anna in Series 3 to help secure Bates' release from prison.
  • The Confidant: Murray is one of the few people Lord Grantham can confide in.
  • Face Palm: Due to being frequently caught up in Robert's self-inflicted financial woes.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: He's the Crawley family's solicitor, and he is one of the most honest private lawyers portrayed on television.
  • Honest Advisor: He tries to be this to Lord Grantham, though his financial advice is often ignored due to Robert's entrenchment to the old ways. When Matthew comes into part-ownership, Murray takes his side in trying to change Downton's financial practices.
  • Mr. Exposition: His role is mostly to explain (for the audience's benefit) the complicated legislation that drives some of the series' plots.

The Most Noble Philip, Duke of Crowborough

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dukeofcrow_1949.png

Portrayed by: Charlie Cox

"And who will believe a greedy footman over the words of a duke? If you're not careful, you'll end up behind bars."

  • Aristocrats Are Evil
  • 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.
  • Blue Blood: 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.
  • Entitled Bastard: Because of his lofty station, he sees nothing wrong with snooping about in the servants' private rooms, and views Thomas as nothing more than a disposable play-thing.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His actual name is never used on-screen — he is only ever referred to as "Your Grace" or simply "Duke". The scripts indicate that his first name is Philip.
  • Experimented in College: An older variant of this — see Bi the Way above.
  • Gold Digger: He expressely says to Thomas that he's looking for a rich heiress, and renounces Mary half a second after Robert informs him that he has no intention to contest the entail.
  • Guilty Pleasure: Thomas, for him.
  • Karma Houdini: Takes shameless advantage of both the Crawleys and Barrow and gets away with it completely.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He flirts with Mary purely to gain access to the servants' corridor so he can retrieve the above mentioned love-letters.

Doctor Richard Clarkson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/doctorc_2128.png

Portrayed by: David Robb

"At the risk of being impertinent... on your own head be it..."

  • Be Yourself: When Miss Baxter brings Thomas to his surgery, who's poisoned himself through injections of saline and other drugs in an attempt to "fix" his homosexuality, Clarkson treats him, and offers him some advice:
    Clarkson: Well, I'll not be coy and pretend I don't understand. Nor do I blame you. But there is no drug, no electric shock, that will achieve what you want... My advice to you, Thomas, would be to accept the burden that chance has seen fit to lay upon you, and to fashion as good a life as you are able. Remember - harsh reality is always better than false hope.
  • 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.
  • December–December Romance: Set in motion between Isobel and him during the Series 3 Christmas Special, although she ultimately feels they are Better as Friends.
  • Dr. Jerk: He won't give a patient one grain of hope if it contradicts his medical dogmas.
  • Dressed to Heal: In his lab-coat.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Violet suspects that Clarkson still fancies Isobel in Season 5. In Season 6 he even acts openly jealous once.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Bystander: He's often caught between the warring Crawley women, which leads to Face Palm, constantly.
  • The Medic: Joins or is drafted into the Army medical corps in Series 2, and helps run the Downton infirmary. Returns to his previous occupation when he musters out.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: In earlier series, he had expressed a romantic interest in Isobel, even asking her whether she had considered marrying again. However, despite the fact that Isobel does seem to enjoy his company, it's not quite enough to turn her head from the charming Lord Merton.
  • Silver Fox: He's a rather dashing older gent.
  • 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.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Due to his elevation to the position of admissions officer during the War years of Series 2, he is unwittingly subject to several conscription-related manipulations. Thomas, in danger of losing his job, asks if Clarkson can pull some strings to get him into the medical corp, which he does (though it's a favour Thomas would come to deeply regret). Clarkson is also hood-winked by Violet Crawley, who, out of protective feelings for two favourite servants (William and Molesley), privately convinces him that both lads are unfit for conscription, which he goes along with. Even after Isobel busts the plan wide open, Molesley still manages to convince Clarkson of his exemption via a lung condition he has concocted.

Mr Charles "Charlie" Grigg

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/charliegrigg_1411.png

Portrayed by: 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.
  • Break the Haughty: He first appears in Series 1 as a rude Smug Snake, but when he shows up again in Series 4, his time in the workhouse has made him a sick, hopeless, and broken man. His attempts at contacting Carson, while self-serving, are eventually revealed to be a desire to bury the hatchet, and while his parting in Series 1 is less than amicable, he departs Series 4 having patched things up with Carson.
  • The Bus Came Back: After his appearance in Series 1, he returns to the show in Series 4 in a sorry state, having been forced into the work-house.
  • Dark Secret: He represents this for Carson, who is horrified that his dignity and position could be compromised by his past as a performer.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Gets one from his time in the workhouse, described as having air full of mould.
  • Lower-Class Lout: He rudely pushes his way into the library when he arrives at Downton, and parks himself smugly in Lord Grantham's own chair, demanding an audience.
  • Smug Snake: Initially...
  • Sticky Fingers: He couldn't keep his hands out of the till, which is why he and Carson split and why he turns up at Downton — he's on the run.
  • Vaudeville: He and Carson performed together as "The Cheerful Charlies" — a song and dance duo. A Straight Man and Wise Guy act, one supposes.
  • Villain Ball: His plan to extract money from Carson is foiled when Lord Grantham, rather than being horrified, is actually impressed by Carson's Vaudeville past, and he's sent packing with £20.

Sayın Kemal Pamuk

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kemalpamuk_6272.png

Portrayed by: Theo James

"You can still be a virgin for your husband. Trust me."


The Honourable Evelyn Napier

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/evelyn_2645.png

Portrayed by: Brendan Patricks

"A truly successful marriage should be based on love, at least at the start."

  • Always Someone Better: He's left in the shadow of his handsome friend, Kemal Pamuk, during their visit to Downton.
  • Bearer of Bad News: He is the first person to alert Lady Mary of a rumour circulating about her and Pamuk and to tell her that the source of these rumours is her own sister, Edith.
  • Blue Blood
  • Bromantic Foil: To Kemal Pamuk.
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns in Series 4, last seen in Series 1. As it turns out, he's working with Charles Blake as part of a Government scheme to assess the fortunes of England's estates.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Where Lady Mary is concerned — he's still in love with her years later in Series 4.
  • Gender-Blender Name: A unusual example, as Evelyn is almost universally used for females only in England, but this reflects a cultural shift since the time of the series; at the time, Evelyn was more commonly a masculine name (observe, for instance, Evelyn Waugh, born 1903, or about eight years after Lady Sybil, and of a somewhat similar background), but was shifting towards becoming a feminine one.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: We first hear about him when Edith snoops around in Mary's room, finding his letters - simply signed "E.N"
  • Officer and a Gentleman: During the First World War.

Joe Burns

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/joeburnsda_9.png

Portrayed by: Bill Fellows

"I’d rather wait a week for the right answer than get a wrong one in a hurry. Think about it, carefully."

  • Dogged Nice Guy: He proposes to Mrs Hughes twice. He gets rejected twice.
  • Nice Guy: The Word of God wanted him to be likeable enough for the audience and Mrs Hughes to make his proposal a tough deliberation. He seems a simple, but nice man, who would have been a good husband for Mrs Hughes.
  • Old Flame Fizzle: Although it's clear that Mrs Hughes is still fond of him, and probably considers his proposal seriously, she chooses Downton Abbey over him once again, saying, she has changed too much.

Sir Anthony Strallan, Baronet

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/siranthony.png

Portrayed by: Robert Bathurst

"You look very nice. Have you done something jolly with your hair?"

  • Big Fancy House: A gorgeous Queen Anne mansion.
  • Blue Blood
  • The Bore: How he is viewed by Mary, when he is flung under her nose as a potential husband.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Not that he had an actual career, of course (he seems to have had some kind of position in the armed forces or civil service in the past, but that was years before), 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 (who is at least thirty years his junior) during Series 1 and rekindled (perhaps) as of the Christmas Special, but dashed as of Series 3.
  • Runaway Groom: He looks utterly haunted as he stumbles out of the church, having abandoned the hapless Edith at the altar.
    Strallan: I can't do it. We both know it's wrong.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: 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.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Lady Edith — sadly, its not to be and his hesitations get the better of him.

    Introduced in Series 2 

Miss Lavinia Swire

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lavinia_3194.png

Portrayed by: Zoe Boyle

"I mean it, Matthew. Don't ever let me be a nuisance. Don't ever let me get in the way, please."

  • Dark Secret: Revealed when she admits to having stolen papers from her uncle, who was in the government, and giving them to a reporter to clear her father's debts to Richard Carlisle.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Her tragic death frees up Mary and Matthew (after initial resistance) to recommence their love affair once again.
  • 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. (Truth in Television, by the way: the Spanish Flu was notorious for hitting the young and healthy disproportionately hard; later research showed that unlike most forms of flu, the 1918 variety triggered cytokine storm, i.e. a dramatic immune overreaction. The effect is worse in people with strong immune systems, like healthy young adults.)
  • Disposable Fiancé: Of the slightly bland, too-sweet-for-her-own-good variety to ensure the audience is still rooting for the Matthew/Mary pairing.
  • English Rose: Lavinia certainly fits the bill — she's sweet-natured, gentle, naturally beautiful and has a tragic, Victorian-heroine style death bed scene.
  • Fragile Flower: She's gentle, timid and softly-spoken.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: On the strawberry-blonde side.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After hearing that Violet wanted Matthew to marry Mary and then seeing them kiss, Lavinia tries to convince him to go back to Mary for that reason, but she dies of Spanish flu before Matthew can argue with her.
  • Mysterious Past: Her shady relationship with Carlisle is only revealed when she works up the courage to come clean to Matthew — see Dark Secret above.
  • 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.
  • Regal Ringlets: Her hair is styled in an elegant coiffure of looped curls, piled up on the crown of her head.
  • Replacement Love Interest: For Matthew, following Lady Mary's dithering over his proposal.
  • Romantic False Lead: Though for many viewers this was probably something of a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She dies angelically in bed, like the heroine of some Victorian novel.

Sir Richard Carlisle

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sirrichard_1136.png

Portrayed by: Iain Glen

"How smooth you are. What a model of manners and elegance. I wonder if you’ll be quite so serene when the papers are full of your eldest daughter’s exploits."

  • Anti-Villain: Type 1. Despite his unscrupulous nature, when Mary eventually levels with him about her feelings for Matthew, instead of ruining her name by publishing the Pamuk scandal (of which Mary has made him privy), he simply walks away from the whole mess.
  • Blackmail: Angry at Mary's seeming reluctance to stay away from Matthew, he threatens to reveal and publish the Kemal Pamuk scandal, should she not toe the line and obey him.
  • Da Editor: He is the powerful owner/publisher of several British newspapers.
  • Dark Secret: Lavinia's father owed him large sums of money, so in order to clear his debts, he forced Lavinia to steal confidential government papers.
  • Disposable Fiancé: He was obviously set up to be this from the get-go; after all, Mary was only with him to keep him from leaking the Pamuk scandal.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: He makes a few, betraying his bourgeois origins.
    Carlisle: Ah, Lady Painswick.
    Rosamund: Lady Rosamund.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: During the Series 2 Christmas Special, tensions between Mary and him begin to escalate, as it becomes clear that Mary prefers Matthew's company to his.
  • Guttural Growler: Has a voice like gravel.
  • I Dub Thee Sir Knight: His "Sir" title is not hereditary.
  • Mysterious Past: His shady relationship with Lavinia is only revealed when she works up the courage to come clean to Matthew — see Dark Secret above.
  • Nouveau Riche: His poor manners and his condescension toward the lower classes are contrasted frequently with the superior breeding of the Crawley family; see The Scrooge below for an example.
  • Old Media Are Evil: His influence runs throughout England like an oil slick.
  • Replacement Love Interest: For Lady Mary. It doesn't stick.
  • Romantic False Lead: Though the show did play with this a bit; everyone expected Mary to leave him after Lavinia's death, but she still stayed with him for over half a year before finally ending it.
  • The Scrooge: Sir Richard doesn't see any reason to give the staff time off for Christmas, and it's clear he feels forcibly dragooned into the Crawley's festive traditions.
  • Self-Made Man: He made his fortune in newspapers.
  • Smug Snake
  • 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.

Mrs Vera Bates

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/verabates_9651.png

Portrayed by: 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."

  • Abhorrent Admirer: For Bates.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Bates' new love Anna is immediately drawn into Vera's firing line.
  • Asshole Victim: Not a tear is shed when it is found that she has killed herself.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Having known each other since childhood, she and Bates married young and had a very unhappy marriage. In between serving in the Anglo-Boer War and joining the staff at the Abbey, he admitted to a silver theft that Vera committed at the barracks and went to prison.
  • Blackmail: She uses her knowledge of both Bates' shady past and later Mary's scandalous affair with Kemal Pamuk to blackmail Bates into coming back to her.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: From the minute she arrives at Downton, it's clear she is going to be big trouble.
  • Evil Laugh
    Vera: Ahaaahaahaaaha!... As if.
  • Greed: Bates' larger than expected inheritance soon brings her out of the woodwork.
  • I Lied: Vera's response to Bates when he reminds her of their deal — that she would accept a large pay-off to get out of his life.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When threats of exposing Bates's past fail to dislodge him from Downton, Vera decides to ruin Mary's name and destroy the whole family. Why not?
  • Manipulative Bitch: She suddenly appears at Downton Abbey to Blackmail Mr. Bates into coming back to her.
  • Psycho Ex-Wife: Bates parted ways with her shortly before arriving to work at Downton — and she's mad as hell about it.
  • Thanatos Gambit: After all of her nefarious blackmailing schemes fail, she takes her own life by eating a poison-laced pie in order to frame Bates, as a last desperate act of revenge.
  • Woman Scorned: Hell hath no fury....

The Reverend Albert Travis

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/revt_2568.png

Portrayed by: Michael Cochrane

"Isn't there something rather un-English about the Roman 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: He 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.
  • Condescending Compassion: His general attitude.
  • 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.
  • Moral Guardians
  • Shaped Like Itself: He insists on multiple occasions that the Roman Catholic Church is less English than the Church of England, as if this observation is at all useful.
  • The Vicar: Of the prim, disapproving variety, as opposed to the "rich tea and sympathy" type.

Lieutenant Edward Courtenay

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/courtne_9348.png

Portrayed by: Lachlan Nieboer

"Please. Don't send me away. Not yet..."

  • Blind Mistake: He was blinded by mustard-gas during the trench warfare depicted in Series 2.
  • Bury Your Disabled
  • Career-Ending Injury: Having lost his sight, he is repatriated to Downton for convalescence.
  • The Confidant: For Thomas — during a heart-to-heart chat, Thomas is uncharacteristically warm and almost comes out to him.
    Thomas: All my life they've pushed me around just cos I'm different...
    Edward: How? Why are you different?
    Thomas: *hesitates*...Never mind. Look... look, I don't know if you're going to see again or not. But I do know you have to fight back.
  • Driven to Suicide: He is distraught when Dr Clarkson insists he be moved to Farley Hall, away from Downton, and slashes his own wrists when Clarkson won't budge.
  • Love Interest: Thomas sees him as such, and they share a tender moment holding hands. Thomas is also utterly crushed after Edward commits suicide.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: He's an elegant, dignified young man.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Says this to Thomas and Sybil, after both comforted him and helped with his rehab.
  • War Is Hell: He's one of the characters used to fully exemplify this.

"Patrick Crawley" AKA Major Peter/Patrick Gordon

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/PatCRAW_9409.png

Portrayed by: Trevor White

"Am I really a stranger? Do you not recognise me at all? It feels very odd to be talking so formally."

  • Canada, Eh?: So much for recognizing him by voice alone.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: It's left ambiguous, but he appears to have taken on the identity of Lord Grantham's deceased heir, Patrick Crawley, who supposedly drowned on the Titanic.
  • Easy Amnesia: He claims that he survived the Titanic sinking, but developed amnesia and was sent to Canada since he was mistaken for a Canadian. He did not correct them because he had no memory of who he really was. Instead he remained in Canada, taking his new surname from a bottle of Gordon's gin. It was only after fighting in the War that he suddenly regained his memory and remembered he was Patrick......so he says anyway.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Combined with Rule of Creepy.
  • The Grotesque: His deformed face, mad staring eyes, the strange finger gesture that Lord Grantham observes him make, and the bouts of rage he exhibits are all more than a little unsettling.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: According to him, he picked up the name Gordon from a bottle of gin.
  • Morality Pet: For Lady Edith, who is the only one, it seems, to believe his story.
  • Mystery of the Week: He turns up out of the blue, with a badly deformed face and Canadian accent, claiming to be Lord Grantham's cousin (and heir), despite having supposedly drowned on the Titanic...
  • Never Found the Body: The basis for his story, true or not.
  • Quest for Identity: The reason he gives for turning up at Downton.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's never fully confirmed whether he was really Patrick, an imposter, or that his injuries gave him the delusion he was Patrick. The information the Crawleys dig up on him could go either way. For example, he claims to be the unidentified Titanic survivor that Officer Lowe picked up after the ship sank. The conflicting reports on that survivor is that he either died soon afterwards...or moved to Canada.
  • 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. Lord Grantham sends his story to his solictior who does some investigating. He reveals that a Peter Gordon once worked with the real Patrick Crawley at the Foreign Office, which would explain how he knew some of the private details of the Earl's family and Patrick's strange mannerism of wiping his lips with his fingers. Violet is then convinced Major Gordon is a fake, and most likely Peter impersonating Patrick for financial and social gain. We never find out the truth — possibly unwilling to wait and be exposed as a fraud, he decides to leave without saying goodbye in person to Edith. He leaves a letter for her, signing it "P. Gordon." Sybil questions whether P stands for Patrick or Peter.....
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The reason he gives for leaving Downton, since Edith is the only one who believes him.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: He's almost manic in his claims to be Patrick.

Major Charles Bryant

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/majorb_4181.png

Portrayed by: Daniel Pirrie

"The last thing I'd wish to be is rude, but in this case, I really must be left to my own devices."

  • Asshole Victim: Having recuperated at Downton, he was sent to the Italian Front, where he was killed during the Battle of Vittorio Veneto.
  • The Casanova: Within minutes of his arrival at the Abbey, he's flirting with the female staff.
  • Handsome Lech: Whilst convalescing at Downton during the War, he flirts shamelessly with Ethel, which leads to Ethel getting sacked and pregnant.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Mrs Hughes bursts in on him and Ethel getting it on in an unused room — which leads to her immediate dismissal.
  • I Have No Son!: He refuses to have anything to do with Ethel, or his child after he learns she is pregnant.
  • Jerkass
  • Lack of Empathy: He couldn't give a stuff about Ethel's plight.
  • Lust Object: For Ethel.
  • Porn Stache
  • Strong Family Resemblance: To his equally Jerkass father, below.

Mr Horace Bryant

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/horace_8994.png

Portrayed by: Kevin R. McNally

"No, no, no. Don't you see? We want to raise him as our grandson, not as a housemaid's bastard."

  • Angrish: Following the death of his son.
  • Five Stages of Grief: He's very much in the angry stage, having lost his son Major Bryant on the Italian Front, mere weeks before Armistice Day.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He is utterly furious most of the time he's on screen.
  • Jerkass
  • 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.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Loses his only son to the last days of warfare on the Italian Front.
  • Porn Stache
  • 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

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/daphnebryant_4568.png

Portrayed by: Christine Mackie

"He's afraid of his own grief. That's why he behaves as he does. He's terrified of his own grief."


Mr Mason

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrmason_6422.png

Portrayed by: Paul Copley

"So, will you be my daughter? Let me take you into my heart, make you special?"

  • Cool Old Guy: He's wise, caring, and generous.
  • Good Shepherd: He takes Daisy, his daughter in law, under his wing during the Christmas special, following William's death.
  • Mentor Archetype: For Daisy.
  • Older and Wiser: He helps Daisy pluck up the courage to ask Mrs Patmore for a promotion properly.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: He loses his only child when William dies from internal injuries sustained during the trench war-fare depicted in Series 2.
  • Parents in Distress: In the first episode of Series 6, Mr Mason's landlord, Sir John Darnley, sells his entire estate to a newly-rich couple, who decide to throw all of the existing tenants out, leaving him potentially homeless. Daisy manages to make things worse, after having a shouting match with the new owners, but luckily, mid-way through the series, the Drewes move out of Yew Tree Farm and Mr Mason takes on the tenancy.
  • Pair the Spares: Develops a requited shine for Mrs Patmore towards the end of Series 6.
  • Parental Substitute: For Daisy.
    Mr Mason: Without you [Daisy] I'd have no one to pray for.
  • Spot of Tea: His cosy farmhouse provides Daisy with a welcome sanctuary — and an all important cuppa.

The Right Honourable Jinx, Baron Hepworth

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lordhep_2740.png

Portrayed by: Nigel Havers

"My dear this is....isn't what it seems."

  • Blue Blood
  • The Charmer: Inevitably, when played by Nigel Havers.
  • Christmas Special: He makes his sole appearance in the first Christmas Day Special.
  • Gold Digger: He's Lady Rosamund's suitor, and the Dowager Countess suspects he's only after her fortune — turns out she's right.
  • Impoverished Patrician: He is in debt and has had to sell off his family estates, Hatton Park and Loch Earle, and heavily mortgage Hepworth House, his London home.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Tipped off by Anna, Mary and Rosamund burst in on him and Lady Rosamund's maid Shore getting it on, thus revealing their affair.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Nigel Havers, the go-to guy for upper-class English characters, has known and worked with Downton creator Julian Fellowes for over 30 years.
  • Romancing the Widow: He is introduced as a new suitor of Rosamund's, whose late husband left her a considerable fortune.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Jinx is his actual name, not a nickname. Julian Fellowes states that he was inspired to use the name after watching the 1944 Rita Hayworth musical Cover Girl, in which appears a model called Jinx Falkenburg.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It turns out he has been sleeping with Lady Rosamund's maid.

Advertisement:

    Introduced in Series 3 

The Right Honourable Richard "Dickie" Grey, Baron Merton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lordmerton_1503.png

Portrayed by: Douglas Reith

"I state freely and proudly, Isobel, that I have fallen in love with you and I want to spend what remains of my life in your company."

  • Ascended Extra: He appears very briefly at a dinner party in Episode 1 of Series 3, but returns to the series right at the end of Series 4 in an expanded role.
  • Big Fancy House: His family seat of Cavenham Park is undoubtedly fancy, although Violet quips that it's "the coldest house in Yorkshire."
  • Blue Blood: "Merton" is his baronial title, not his family name. The fifth degree of the Peerage (ranking just below viscount), baron is always referred to, both verbally and in correspondence, as Lord (Merton) rather than Baron (Merton). The title baron is never used, except in formal or legal documents.
  • December–December Romance: After Isobel gives Dr Clarkson the brush off at the end of Series 3, she finds herself the subject of Lord Merton's affections at the end of Series 4.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He's clearly very interested in Isobel, and turns up at her house unannounced to pay a call—something that would be considered rather forward at the time.
  • Gilded Cage: When he is diagnosed with anaemia in the grand finale, his treacherous son and daughter-in-law see it as an opportunity to get their hands on his estate early, and so keep him trapped in morbid isolation at Cavenham Park (with no visitors), whilst they wait for him to die.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When he and Isobel are discussing their children's occupations in Series 4, he brings up Matthew, having completely forgotten that he had died some time earlier. Isobel is rattled, but not upset with him, and he sends her flowers later to apologise.
  • Inter-Class Romance: In Series 5, his sons are furious that he, an upper-class baron, is in a relationship with Isobel, a middle-class doctor's widow, and determinedly set out to break happy pairing.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name was not revealed until Series 5.
  • Love Confession: In the 4th episode of Series 5, he professes his love for Isobel and asks for her to consider taking his hand in marriage. At the end of Series 5, during a dinner with all the family present, she announces her decision to accept his proposal.
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: The Greys are stated to live nearby, and he is actually Mary's godfather. This is admittedly easier to justify when the house is a large estate and "nearby" can refer to any place within ten miles.
  • Silence, You Fool!: After his son, Larry, spikes Tom Branson's drink and then refers to him as a "grubby little chauffeur chap", he stands bolt upright and angrily shuts him up.
    Lord Merton: BE SILENT THIS INSTANT SIR!
    • In Series 5, poor old Dickie is once again humiliated by his obnoxious sons over dinner, and has to shut both Larry and Tim up when they express their disgust over his decision to marry Isobel.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: He's a decent, up-standing sort, with impeccable manners and an unfailing sense of politeness. He's also quintessential in the fact of having a single mild eccentricity—in his case, a predilection for the distinctly middle-class study of medicine.
  • They Do: After Isobel finds out about Dickie’s supposed terminal illness (pernicious anaemia) in the Series’ grand finale, she realises she wants to spend what little time he has left together, and so finally accepts his proposal of marriage. Luckily it’s a misdiagnosis, and their story finishes with them happily living together at Crawley House.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a much needed one of these to his vile son Larry in the Series' grand finale when he finds out that Larry (and his equally vile wife) have been blocking Isobel from seeing him at Cavenham, whilst keeping him a virtual prisoner in his own home.
    Lord Merton: Larry as my son I love you, but I have tried and failed to like you.

The Honourable Laurence "Larry" Grey

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/larrygrey_6716.png

Portrayed by: Charlie Anson

"I don't know why you're all getting so hot under the collar, he's only a grubby little chauffeur chap."

  • Antagonistic Offspring: Of the exceedingly gentlemanly Dickie Merton.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: A quintessential example, he's incredibly snobby, prejudiced, highly entitled — and has no issue with showing it.
  • Blue Blood
  • The Bully: Mary labels him as such when his prank on Tom Branson is revealed.
  • Dirty Social Tricks / Slipping a Mickey: He spikes Branson's drink with a powder that makes him appear drunk, and lose all inhibitions, with the plan being to humiliate him in front of his in-laws.
  • Evil Duo: In Series 6, his vile fiancé Amelia is the perfect complement to his own insufferable character. In the grand finale it becomes clear that they are keeping Dickie a prisoner at Cavenham Park whilst unsubtly willing his passing so that they may have the estate all to themselves.
  • Evil Eyebrows: It might be his eyes, but there's definitely something of the night about him....
  • Evil Former Friend: To Edith, apparently.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: He defends drugging a fellow house-guest as a mere joke.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Sybil states that she barely remembers him.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The above is clearly done in reaction to Sybil, who he used to be keen on, marrying someone like Branson, who he considers to be vastly socially inferior.
  • Humiliation Conga: Once the trick he plays on Tom is revealed, the whole table rounds on him, including Mary, Edith and even his own father, who jumps to his feet to shut him up. To top it all off, Matthew then asks Branson to be his best man, showing just how accepted he is amongst the Crawley family.
  • Jerkass: Not a very nice guy at all — even his own father is furious with him after he is appallingly rude to Tom.
  • Kick the Dog: In Series 5, he is even more of an arsehole, and at a dinner involving the whole family, he vocalises his horror at the thought of his father marrying the middle-class Isobel, berates Lady Rose for her relationship with the Jewish Atticus, and then really sticks the knife in by again deriding (the late) Lady Sybil's marriage to Tom. If he hadn't crossed the line with his words to Isobel, or his anti-semitism, then he most definitely crossed the line when he derides Sybil and her choices; Lord Merton, Robert and Tom immediately round on him, and he is sent packing in disgrace. Again.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: He employs this when he first meets Branson, and immediately tries to make him feel inferior.
    Larry: Did they lose your suitcase on the way over? How maddening for you.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Classist (which isn't that surprising), but also clearly not a fan of the Irish, or the Jewish.
  • Smug Snake: He probably thinks his venomous diatribes are terribly clever, but all he succeeds in doing is getting himself ejected from the room — twice.
  • Villain Ball: Sir Anthony Strallan shows uncharacteristic vexation when he reveals Larry's prank to the table, having spotted him pour the powder into Branson's drink before dinner.
    Sir Anthony: Wait a minute! This is down to you isn't it — you put something in his drink, didn't you?

Mrs Audrey Bartlett

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/audreyb_2077.png

Portrayed by: Claire Higgins

"When I heard the verdict, I thought he’d swing. And he should have if the country hadn’t gone soft."

  • Birds of a Feather: She's best mates with Vera Bates, and both women exhibit a similar bitter, unpleasant personality. She’s also the only person who is upset after Vera deliberately kills herself with the poisoned pie.
  • Chekhov's Gunman / Rear Window Witness: She's briefly mentioned early in Series 3, but her information becomes vital to Bates' defence. When Anna speaks with her, she is very certain that she had seen Vera making the crust of the fatal pie in the evening of the day that Vera died — after Bates had left by train to return to Downton. Bates had bought the rat poison, but the poison was only found in the pie and not in the ingredients. So if the pie was made after he left, Vera had to have poisoned it herself.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Her friendship with Vera. She claims that Bates had "driven" Vera to commit suicide, and deserved to be punished by imprisonment, even if he had not poisoned the pie himself.
  • Implausible Deniability: Having truthfully relayed the above evidence to Anna, she denies ever saying it when officially questioned by Murray, Lord Grantham’s lawyer.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: It turns out that, due to their own animosity towards Bates, the prison guard Durrant and Bates' cell mate Craig had (perhaps forcefully) convinced her to withhold her vital evidence from Murray. Luckily, Bates convinces Craig to get her to tell the truth.
  • Lower-Class Lout: The classic East-End battleaxe.
  • Troll: After she lies to Murray, he asks her why she dragged him all the way down to East London. Her response? She wanted him to see “how normal people live.”

Sir Philip Tapsell

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drtapsel_2560.png

Portrayed by: Tim Piggot-Smith

"She had quite a time when she was first married, but I said to her: 'Never fear, Duchess, I'll get a baby out of you one way or another'."

  • British Stuffiness: He provides a very negative example, and his manner is stiff, pompous and arrogant.
  • Control Freak: He's also very controlling and blind to the advice of others.
  • Dr. Jerk: He's drafted in to oversee Sybil's labour at Robert's behest, and won't have his medical opinions questioned.
  • I Dub Thee Sir Knight: Cora mentions that he has been knighted, and is thus not titled by birth.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: With deadly consequences...
    Lord Grantham: You were SO SURE!
    Sir Phillip: Th—the, uh, the human life is unpredictable...
  • Worst Aid: Tragically, Sybil dies of post-partum eclampsia in his charge, but if he hadn't been too proud to listen to Dr Clarkson's pleas to transfer her to the village hospital, her death may have been avoided.
  • Yes-Man: He appears to be more concerned with appearing correct in front of Lord Grantham, than admitting his patient was in danger.

Mr Kieran Branson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kieranbranson_3187.png

Portrayed by: Ruairi Conaghan

"You got any beer??"

  • Actually Pretty Funny: He laughs at one of Robert's Anti-Catholic jokes. Robert looks suitably put out.
  • The Alcoholic: He's described as a "drunkard" in press materials.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: He clearly knows how to touch a nerve with his younger brother.
    Kieran: Come on, Tommy. Come and eat down here. They seem like a nice lot. What’s the matter? Are you too grand for them now?
  • Blithe Spirit: A plain-speaking Irish country lad thrust into the glamorous, highly regimented atmosphere of a dinner party at the Abbey makes for an amusing scenario.
  • Fish out of Water: Even Tom seems like a pro amongst the aristocratic Crawleys compared to his bucolic big bro.
  • The Funny Guy: Upon arrival, he has the downstairs staff in stitches.
  • Oireland: A little — he's a cheeky, funny inebriate with a knowing sense of humour and a complete lack of propriety.
  • Porn Stache
  • 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

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/michaelgregson_4754.png

Portrayed by: Charles Edwards

"Edith, the basic fact is that I’m in love with you. You know that already."

  • Anyone Can Die: Mid-way through Series 5, it is revealed that he was killed by Hitler's Brownshirts during the Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923 in Munich.
  • Benevolent Boss: In Series 3, when Edith lands a job on The Sketch, he takes an instant shine to her.
  • The Charmer: Luncheon at Rules anyone?
  • Dark Secret: As Edith uncovers in the Series 3 finale, his wife has been sectioned and he's trapped, unable to divorce her.
  • Disappeared Dad: He represents this for Marigold, his daughter with Edith, although, due to his disappearance and death in Series 4, he never had any idea she even existed.
  • Divorce in Reno/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 (the other options he mentioned being Greece or Portugal). 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.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In Series 4, a "known gang of toughs in brown shirts...preaching the most awful things" are responsible for his disappearance in Munich in 1922. In Series 5, it is confirmed that he died in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923.
  • Uncertain Doom: He goes missing in the early part of Series 4, as mentioned above, and it isn't until mid-way through Series 5 that his fate is revealed (see above.)

Mr Jos Tufton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jostufton_7566.png

Portrayed by: John Henshaw

"Tufton's at your service. Good afternoon, ladies."

  • Big Eater: He munches away in most of his scenes, and is decidedly paunchy.
  • The Casanova: Although not physically attractive, he makes up for it with a bumptious manner and free-flowing compliments.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Always polite to the ladies... whilst offering them a sneaky pat on the bottom.
  • Christmas Special: His sole appearance was in the Third Series Christmas Day Special.
  • Fat Sweaty Northerner In A White Suit
  • In Love with Love: By his own admittance — he says this word-for-word.
  • Love Interest: His bumptious manner initially sparks Mrs Patmore's interest, and he requests to "squire" her around the village fair.
  • The Munchausen: He brags about everything at the drop of a hat.
  • Romantic False Lead: It soon becomes clear that he's an incorrigible flirt, and only interested in Mrs P for her cooking.
  • Old Windbag: Talks a considerable amount of flanneling bollocks.

    Introduced in Series 4 

The Right Honourable Prudence, Dowager Lady Shackleton

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ladyshack_7006.png

Portrayed by: Dame Harriet Walter

"I do find it very hard these days to see how many men are forced to take employment for which they are quite unsuited."

  • Blue Blood
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Complete with a rather fabulous feathered hat.
  • Grande Dame
  • Politeness Judo: As one of her oldest friends, she can more than hold her own against the imperious Dowager Countess.
  • Remember the New Guy?: She's the Dowager Countess's "old friend", but it's taken 4 series for her to make an appearance.
  • Special Guest: A celebrated stage and screen actress, Walter makes her Downton debut in a neat cameo during Episode 1 of Series 4.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Firstly, in Violet's scheme to find Molesley a new job as her butler.
    • In Series 5, she's again dragged into Violet's schemes, but this time to act as romantic bait to steer Lord Merton away from Isobel.
    • In what now appears to be her default role, Violet again ropes her into a scheme in Series 6; this time to support her case against Isobel over plans for the village hospital.

The Right Honourable Anthony Foyle, Viscount Gillingham

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lord_ant_5139.png

Portrayed by: Tom Cullen

"How lucky you are, you've known a great love — doesn't that enrich any life?"

  • Blue Blood: A Viscount ranks one step below an Earl in the British peerage system.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: At the end of Series 5, after Mary makes it quite clear that their relationship is not to be (snogging Charles right in front of him probably helps), Tony finally gets the message, bids his farewell to Mary, and recommences his relationship with Mabel.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: He and Charles Blake make no secret of their rivalry to win Mary's hand in marriage.
  • The Charmer: Dashing and charming, he's the first person to get Mary to laugh following Matthew's death. He's also far more up-front (though still very gentlemanly) about the physical side of romantic relations than one might first expect (see below).
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: He's very much the classic gentleman, and Charles Blake the edgier scoundrel type in the battle for Lady Mary's affections.
  • I Will Wait for You / Love Confession: He's prepared to sack off his engagement to Mable Lane-Fox to wait for Mary, despite her frank, non-committal response to his marriage proposal.
  • Leitmotif: He and Mary share a new theme for their scenes in Series 4.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: From Series 5 onwards.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: In a series filled with gentleman, he is, so far, the most clear-cut, straightforward example — he's dignified, decent, unfailingly polite, and stoically sincere in his courtship of Mary.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He knew Mary from childhood, and first appears at a party thrown by the family "to help lift Lady Mary's spirit" — it is the first time Mary has seen him since they were young.
  • Replacement Love Interest: He and Charles Blake both represent potential suitors for the widowed Lady Mary.
  • The Rival: For Charles Blake, with Lady Mary as the prize.
  • Romantic False Lead: Mid-way through Series 5, he and Mary spend an illicit week together in Liverpool, where they consummate their relationship. This proves to be disastrous for him as Mary decides, based on this time together, that he's not the man for her and tries to break it all off a mere matter of days later. Needless to say, he does not take it well.
  • Romancing the Widow: He comes back into Mary's life 6 months after Matthew's death, and is instantly smitten.
  • Smithical Marriage: Sort of; when he whisks Mary off for an illicit week away, she books an adjoining hotel room under "Miss Crawley", but he uses his proper title, claiming that false names simply arouse suspicion. Also, they have separate, albeit adjoining, rooms. While someone who was suspicious of their real activities could easily point out that this would've allowed them to sneak into each other's rooms at night without the possibility of hotel staff or another guest seeing them, it also allows them to maintain the illusion of an innocent coincidence.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome
  • Will They or Won't They?: He and Mary in Series 4/5. They don't, as of the end of Series 5.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Even though he was engaged to Mabel Lane Fox, he lets himself fall for Mary, and eventually breaks it all off to be with her.

Her Grace The Duchess of Yeovil

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/duchessofyeovil_6564.png

Portrayed by: Joanna David

"You must miss darling Sybil so dreadfully."

  • Blue Blood: As a Duchess, she is the highest ranking peer presented by the series so far, along with the Duke of Crowborough in Series 1.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Complete with a very grand tiara.
  • Grande Dame: Sort of. She's actually a lot less grand than the Dowager Countess, despite being far higher ranked, and seems to genuinely sympathise with Tom Branson. Despite her well-meaning but insensitive remarks (see below), she actually does give Tom some good advice about coping with the death of a beloved spouse.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The above quote, said to Tom Branson of all people, was well meaning but a little ill-timed. She also assumes Tom is entirely familiar with various Anglo-Irish aristocrats she counts as friends without the faintest notion that he has no idea who she is talking about.
  • Widow Woman
    The Duchess: I love to dance, but these days I haven't got a partner.

Sir John Bullock, Baronet

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/johnbullock_2612.png

Portrayed by: Andrew Alexander

"I'd jolly well like to dance, if it's with you."

  • The Alcoholic: It's clear he enjoys a drink.....
  • Blue Blood: 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.
  • The Hedonist: Out-parties even Lady Rose.
  • Hopeless Suitor: He and Rose seemed to be headed for a pairing, but his drunken antics put even her off.
  • Upper-Class Twit: A classic nice-but-dim representative of the upper-class.

Mr Terence Sampson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sampson_7062.png

Portrayed by: Patrick Kennedy

"Interesting, or it would be if he plays cards. They're absolutely made of money."

  • The Barnum: He's a complete cad, and swindles Lord Robert and his house-guests out of considerable sums of money via a loaded deck.
  • Card Sharp: Michael Gregson refers to him as such directly.
  • Fixing the Game
  • The Gambler: Specialises in (trick) cards.
  • Gentleman Thief: His (perhaps faked) status as a gentleman allows him access to a pool of the wealthiest marks in England.
  • Mock Millionaire: When Mary, Rose and Charles Blake access his flat (see below), all three are shocked at how humble and ill-appointed his lodgings are.
    Mary: It's rather sad, to see the truth behind Mr Sampson's smooth facade.
    Charles: Cheating at cards can't be very lucrative after all.
  • 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) unless he hands 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. After Mary, Rose and Charles break into his flat, but fail to find the letters, Bates manages to pick-pocket them from his jacket and thus prevent a royal scandal.

Dame Nellie Melba

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nelliem_1643.png

Portrayed by: 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.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: One of the original examples, she was decorated, as mentioned above, for "services in organising patriotic work" during World War I.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: She sports a beautiful, sapphire-coloured cape-dress for her performance.
  • 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.
  • I Dub Thee Sir Knight: Her title is not hereditary — Melba was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1918.
  • 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!
  • Opera: A soprano, to be precise.
  • Special Guest: When you've got one of the greatest living operatic sopranos in the world on your show, what else are you going to do but let her sing?

Mr Jack Ross

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jackross_5649.png

Portrayed by: Gary Carr

"And why should I go to Africa Mr Carson? I'm no more African than you are. Well, not much more."

  • Expy: He seems largely inspired by Leslie Hutchinson, a successful black singer whose career was destroyed by his affair with an aristocratic woman.
  • 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!
  • Forbidden Friendship: With Lady Rose — see below.
  • Jazz: He's a jazz singer at a time when the genre first gained worldwide popularity.
  • Lounge Lizard: He performs at The Lotus Club in London with his band Jack Ross & Orchestra.
  • 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 1920s is nothing short of unthinkable.
  • Token Minority: He represents the show's first black character.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Black and American. However, actor Gary Carr is actually English, and unfortunately his rather stage-school attempt at a generic American accent makes this obvious.
  • Very Special Episode: His storyline addresses race-relations in the 1920s.
    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 highly controversial 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

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/timdrewe_3134.png

Portrayed by: 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 baby daughter to a Swiss family, Edith decides she cannot bear being apart from the child. In desperation, she decides to approach Drewe, who lives locally, hoping he'll adopt the baby himself. 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, and at the close of Series 4, they adopt the child, now named Marigold. Come Series 5, he helps ease Edith's obvious separation anxiety by cooking up a plan for Edith to be Marigold's mentor and sponsor, thus legitimising her frequent contact with the child. Even when the arrangement disastrously breaks down in episode 6, he still agrees to keep Edith's secret.
  • 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.
  • Old Retainer: As mentioned above.
  • Parental Substitute: To Edith's daughter, up until the end of Series 5.
  • 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

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/charlesblake_9611.png

Portrayed by: Julian Ovenden

"Mr Lloyd George is more concerned with feeding the population than rescuing the aristocracy. That doesn't seem mean-spirited to me."

  • Better as Friends: Unlike Tony Gillingham, Charles seems relaxed and perfectly happy to simply be friends when Mary finally makes it clear that he too is not the man for her towards the end of Series 5.
  • Blue Blood: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, he reveals to Mary that he's the heir to a rich Northern Irish baronetcy. 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".
  • Category Traitor: 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. Mary considers him a Category Traitor, as even though he is a member of the British Aristocracy, the collapse of estates like Downton isn't something he wishes to stop.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: He and Anthony Foyle make no secret of their rivalry to win Mary's hand in marriage.
  • 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.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: He's very much the edgier, scoundrel type and Anthony Foyle the safer, gentlemanly option in the battle for Lady Mary's affections.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: From Series 5 onwards.
  • Replacement Love Interest: Potentially (as with Gillingham above), for Lady Mary.
  • The Rival: For Tony Gillingham, with Lady Mary as the prize.
  • Romancing the Widow: After a rocky start, Mary's charms gradually beguile him and he begins actively pursuing her affections.
  • 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.
  • Special Guest: Completely averted, in direct contrast to Dame Kiri. Julian Ovenden is a renowned tenor and a fixture in the West End but doesn't sing a note on the show.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Blake seemingly opposed to everything the Crawleys stand for, there is initial antagonism between him and Mary.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Although beguiled by Mary's charms, he doesn't stand for any of her haughty nonsense.
  • Will They or Won't They?: He and Mary in Series 4/5.

The Maître d'Hôtel at The Netherby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maitred_9873.png

Portrayed by: Simon Lowe

"Bates?......I don't seem to have it."

  • Didn't See That Coming: He scoffs when the Bateses claim to know Lady Grantham, and the look on his face is priceless when she appears behind him to greet the couple warmly.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Horribly snotty, oily.....and totally hilarious.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: It's clear he has ideas well above his station; Lady Grantham refers to his workplace as "some frightful hotel"
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: He's the classic snooty waiter, and when Anna and John turn up for a romantic meal, he decides that he doesn't have a table for them, despite them having made a reservation, based solely on their appearance.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Kisses an enormous amount of arse when Lady Grantham turns up to greet the Bateses, and is fawningly apologetic to the couple thereafter.
  • Slimeball: Professionally so.
  • Smart People Speak the Queen's English: He is English of course, but hams it up, and attempts an enunciated RP accent, despite his Northern roots seeping through.
  • Sycophantic Servant: To Lady Grantham of course, and to the Bateses, but only after their connection to the Countess is revealed.

Chef Arsène Avignon

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arsene_2865.png

Portrayed by: Yves Aubert

"Today you are going to make four dishes. Is that clear? Then, if you have no questions, we will begin."

  • French Cuisine Is Haughty: Avignon specialised in French haute cuisine at The Ritz Hotel, London.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Avignon was, in real-life, a maître-chef at the Ritz Hotel. He prided himself in running his kitchen with military precision and creating food that was almost a still life art form. In-series, he is depicted as the gastronomic hero of Downton footman Alfred, who meets Avignon when he realises his dream of enrolling in a cookery course at the Ritz.
  • Stern Teacher: Young Alfred must impress the po-faced Frenchman if he's to stand a chance at winning a place on his course — luckily for him, he scrapes 4th place.
  • Supreme Chef: He and fellow chef Marcel Percevault at Claridge’s, were as famous in their day as the masterchefs of today’s hit television shows.

Miss Sarah Bunting

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f070627f3905201682fd9d970a006f13.png

Portrayed by: Daisy Lewis

"As a rule, I don't really warm to their type."

  • Aggressive Categorism: The above quote says it all — she dislikes the upper-class purely for the fact that they are upper-class, and makes this clear at every opportunity.
  • 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.
  • 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 breaks 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.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Branson likes her well enough to start with because their political views initially have common ground. The fact that she's the first (and only) friend he's made outside of the Crawley family is all it takes to get Rose and Cora on board with inviting her to the Abbey for dinner. Isobel takes a shine to her because of her zeal in defending her beliefs, and Daisy develops serious hero worship after she begins tutoring her. But by the time of the character's departure in Season 5, Daisy is the only one who misses her.
  • 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 1920s. Cars were the preserve of the wealthy, and only became accessible to most people from the 1960's onwards.
  • Insufferable Genius: There's a lot of chat amongst the Crawleys and their guests about how "terribly clever" she is — and how terrible.
  • The Napoleon: She's unusually short, but has a gob on her big enough to more than make up for any height deficit.
  • No Social Skills: Never mind social skills, she's a social time-bomb.
  • Pet the Dog: She happily agrees to tutor Daisy in maths, and even declines an invitation to dinner (where she'd undoubtedly get to stir up more trouble) after the lesson.
  • Principles Zealot: Social niceties and any sense of decorum go out the window in defence of her staunchly leftist ideals.
  • Put on a Bus: She leaves the series mid-way through Series 5, after it becomes clear that she and Tom are not to be (see below), and starts a new life away from Downton.
  • Replacement Love Interest: Potentially, for Tom.
  • Shadow Archetype: For Branson. Lord Grantham uses her as an example of how he fears Tom could turn out if he doesn't keep his political zeal in check; angry, hateful and socially unacceptable.
  • Soap Box Sadie:
    • She takes every opportunity to trash the Crawleys and the upper-class in general, even whilst she's nosily poking about upstairs at the Abbey with a fretting Branson in tow.
    • In the Series 5 premiere, she behaves very rudely while attending a dinner party at the Abbey and enrages both Lord Grantham and even Tony Gillingham by voicing dismissive, politically motivated opinions about plans for a village War memorial.
    • She goes too far in episode 4, and after another incendiary diatribe at Robert's expense, he explodes with rage, and tells her to Get Out! for good.
  • School Marm: She's the schoolmistress of Downton village.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: The audience never really took to her in Series 4, especially as she was essentially just a déclassé version of Lady Sybil without the inherent charm. Come Series 5, her character becomes so incredibly unlikeable that it's pretty clear this was done to justify her aborted romance arc with Branson, and subsequent swift exit.
  • Stealth Insult: At the dinner mentioned above, she tells Rose's friend Kitty Colthurst that she needn't worry about being well-read, as she's bound to land a rich husband.
  • Strawman Political: Of the antagonistic, firebrand socialist variety, which is used to ignite some dramatically tense confrontations with Robert around the dinner table up at the Abbey.
  • Sugary Malice: When around anyone from the upper-class, no matter how nice they may be, she can't resist making barbed or loaded comments to reveal her complete disapproval of their very existence — all delivered with a pleasant smile.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For the late Lady Sybil. With her politicized chat and strong views, she's a slightly clumsy, rather forced attempt at providing Branson with a new, sympatico partner. However she has none of Sybil's charm, sincerity or manners.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Series 4, she's blunt and rather out-spoken, but still has her softer moments. However come Series 5, her over-zealous politicking is ramped up so much that she's almost unbearably rude in nearly ever scene she appears in.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Robert fears she'll end up being this to Branson. Considering she's actively encouraging him to go back to being his old firebrand socialist self (who actively supported the Russian Revolution) from the early series it's not unjustified.
    • Her influence gradually seeps downstairs, and as well as teaching her rudimentary mathematics, she fills Daisy's head with revolutionary ideas.
  • Troll: As Series 5 progresses, it becomes clear that she cannot resist winding Robert up, and makes loaded comments and barely-concealed barbs at every opportunity whilst in his presence.
  • Will They or Won't They?: She and Branson — but it's not to be; Branson finally realises that she'll never accept his relationship with the Crawleys, even despite the fact that his daughter is a Crawley, and breaks it all off.

The Right Honourable William "Billy" Allsopp, Baron Aysgarth

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lordaysgarth_7750.png

Portrayed by: James Fox

"Don't you want to be Lady Aysgarth and rank alongside your daughter?"

  • Blue Blood: His title, as he explains to Mrs Levinson, is a "lowly" barony in the English peerage (barons are the lowest of the five grades of peers, following viscounts in rank), but apparently the title, while "only" a barony, is an old one as well, suggesting his family has been noble for centuries. Indeed, "baron" is the oldest of the English peerage titles, and there are baronies (such as the Baron de Ros, or the Baron Mowbray) that go back to the 13th Century, while the oldest earldom (namely the Earl of Shrewsbury) only dates from the 15th Century.
  • British Stuffiness: His manner is pompous, entitled and presumptuous.
  • Christmas Special: Debuts in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special.
  • Gold Digger: As soon as he finds out how loaded the Levinsons are, he determinately courts Martha, whilst at the same time, he rather gracelessly flings Madeleine onto her son Harold.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Martha has no desire to become Lady Aysgarth, as she tells him in no uncertain terms.
  • Hope Spot: Martha does however promise to meet up with him in Newport and introduce him to plenty of rich American widows, so there's hope for the Allsopps yet.
  • Impoverished Patrician: A classic example. As his daughter Madeleine explains, the money has all run out and all they have left is their good name.

The Honourable Madeleine Allsopp

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/madeleinea2_8957.png

Portrayed by: Poppy Drayton

"Please don't think too harshly of us. Father is frightened, he doesn't know how to live without money."

  • Becoming the Mask: Over the course of the Special, her feelings for Harold appear to become more genuine, and beyond the crass fortune-hunt her father contrives.
    Madeleine: You're kind, clever and much too modest and I speak without guile because I know you have escaped my net.
  • Blue Blood: As the daughter of a Baron, she is styled "The Honourable".
  • Christmas Special: Debuts in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special.
  • 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.
  • The Flapper: She represents an example of the "bright young things", a sub-culture that emerged during the 20's.
  • Gold Digger: Albeit 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.

Mrs Winifred "Freda" Dudley Ward

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fredadw_8928.png

Portrayed by: Janet Montgomery

"I can't tell you how pleased I am to have some reinforcements, he was getting rather grouchy."

  • Christmas Special: She appears in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: At one point she refers to her lover, the Prince of Wales, as "David" whilst talking to Rose, and has to quickly correct such flagrant over-familiarity.
  • Historical-Domain Character: She was an English socialite best known for being a mistress of the Prince of Wales.
  • Hot Consort: For the Prince.
  • 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.
  • Proud Beauty: Her profile portrait says it all.
  • Socialite: The Paris Hilton of her day. And like Ms Hilton, she was not an actual Blue Blood — her family made their fortune in the Nottingham lace industry.
  • Your Cheating Heart: She was married to William Dudley Ward throughout most of her affair with the Prince.

Lord Chamberlain of the Household

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lord_chamberlain_8430.png

Portrayed by: Alastair Bruce

"The Countess of Grantham presenting the Lady Rose MacClare."

  • Blue Blood
  • Christmas Special: He appears in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special.
  • Creator Cameo: He is played by Alastair Bruce, the series' historical advisor.
  • Historical-Domain Character: The Right Honourable Rowland Thomas Baring, 2nd Earl of Cromer (29 November 1877 – 13 May 1953), was a British diplomat and courtier. As Lord Chamberlain, he was the chief functionary of the court and responsible for organising all court functions. He was considered the "senior official" of the Royal Household. In-series, he announces Lady Rose before she is presented to King George V and Queen Mary.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: During World War I, he served as a subaltern in the Grenadier Guards.
  • Staff of Authority

His Royal Highness Prince Albert, Duke of York

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bertiew_1155.png

Portrayed by: Jonathan Townsend


  • Affectionate Nickname: Always known as "Bertie" to his family.
  • Blue Blood: Bluest of the blue.
  • Bling of War
  • Christmas Special: He appears in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special, although his role is merely a background cameo.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, styled commonly as HRH Albert, Duke of York, (14 December, 1895 – 6 February, 1952) was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary, and brother of Edward, Prince of Wales.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: As was (and still is) the custom, senior male royals wear military dress for state and special occasions.
  • Spare to the Throne
  • Speech Impediment: Suffered from (but eventually conquered) a chronic stutter that made public-speaking impossibly difficult, as depicted in the film The King's Speech.
  • Unexpected Successor / Reluctant Ruler: Amongst the best known real-life examples, he was not expecting to become King, instead planning a military career and a quiet life with his duchess and their two daughters. Then his older brother (below) pitched a royal fit and abdicated. Cue a constitutional crisis, a world war, and a very uncomfortable King taking the throne of an empire he never expected to reign over. Which he did magnificently—George VI is one of the best beloved monarchs of British history—but at a terrible cost to his personal health.

His Royal Highness Edward, Prince of Wales

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/princeofwales_4_6264.png

Portrayed by: Oliver Dimsdale

"Would you permit me to open the ball?"

  • Abdicate the Throne: The most infamous example in living memory, he bears the dubious legacy of "the one who abdicated".
  • Blue Blood: Bluest of the blue.
  • Bling of War
  • 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.
  • Christmas Special: He appears in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special.
  • 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. Later on, the Prince (at Mrs Dudley Ward's insistence) attends and opens Lady Rose's ball, which he is only too happy to do, as although he is unaware of how the Crawleys have saved his reputation, he rather liked Rose's father's reception for him in India and rather likes the look of Rose herself....
  • Overly Long Name: He bore seven Christian names, but was always known as "David" to his family. In-series, Freda Dudley Ward corrects herself when she refers to him as David whilst talking to Rose.
  • Rebel Prince: The classic real-life example.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: As was (and still is) the custom, senior male royals wear military dress for state and special occasions.
  • 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 later affair with divorced commoner Wallis Simpson and subsequent abdication caused a constitutional crisis. Even the much more discreet affair with Mrs Dudley-Ward (which we see) was still more or less public knowledge, and was viewed with foreboding even at the time (the public's reaction being, in essence, "that guy is going to succeed good old King George?").

His Most Gracious Majesty King George V & Her Majesty Queen Mary

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kinggeorgev_6967.png

Portrayed by: Guy Williams & Madge French
Voiced by: Jon Glover (Series 5)

"The Prince is never short of....popularity."

  • Big Fancy House: Buckingham. Palace. It really doesn't get any bigger (at 828,821 square feet) or fancier.
  • Blue Blood: Well, they are the actual King & Queen
  • Bling of War
  • Christmas Special: They appear in the Series 4 Christmas Day Special when Rose is formally presented.
  • The Good King: One of the most popular British monarchs, George V was seen as solid, reliable and dignified. Queen Mary was similarly staid, if a little chilly.
  • The Emperor: George V was styled as "Emperor of India" and was sometimes referred to as "King-Emperor" of The British Empire. By 1922, he held sway over about 458 million subjects, one-fifth of the world's population at the time. The Empire covered more than 13,012,000 square miles, almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area.
  • 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.
  • Porn Stache
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: As was (and still is) the custom, senior male royals wear military dress for state and special occasions.note 
  • Rousing Speech: In Series 5, the Crawleys install a radio at the Abbey and tune in to George V’s address to open the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. It was the first time the monarch spoke on the radio and the event aroused such excitement that traffic was stopped and loudspeakers were set up on pavements outside large stores so people could listen. The occasion was the first time the British public as a whole had been gathered together to participate in a national event through the new medium. In-series, the Dowager is so shocked to hear the King's voice that she stands to attention.
  • 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.

    Introduced in Series 5 

The Dowager Lady Anstruther

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ladyanstruther2_5013.png

Portrayed by: Anna Chancellor

"You're a very naughty boy."

  • Blue Blood
  • Call-Back: She's Jimmy's previous employer, and has been mentioned a couple of times since his Series 3 debut.
  • Femme Fatale: She's roguishly saucy, and turns up at Downton with just one thing on her mind — seducing young Jimmy Kent.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: She and her sometime lover and ex-employee, footman Jimmy, are caught in bed together in her room by Lord Grantham of all people, after he bursts in to warn her of a fire raging throughout the upstairs landing.
  • May–December Romance: She's in her early fifties, and Jimmy is in his early twenties.
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: The type of relationship she shared with Jimmy, who seems to have rather enjoyed her risqué flirtations.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Prior to her debut, the interesting working relationship she shared with Jimmy is hinted at by several suggestive remarks he makes in Series 3, and the fact that he sent her a Valentine's Day card in Series 4. In Series 5, the lady herself makes an appearance, and her amorous intentions are immediately made clear when she takes the young footman to bed with her the night she arrives.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Well, she's his ex-boss, but even so it's pretty clear from Series 5 that her relationship with Jimmy was always of a physical nature.
  • The Tease: To Jimmy — "I ought to scold you" she purrs, whilst running her hands up and down his chest.
  • Trophy Wife: Her late husband, Jock, was apparently twice her age, and it's pretty clear that she too has a predilection for younger lovers.
  • Widow Woman: Like quite a few of the older ladies in the series.

Mrs Margie Drewe

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/margied_2389.png

Portrayed by: Emma Lowndes

"We've almost forgotten she's not one of our own, haven't we Tim."

  • Broken Tears: She is filled with absolute grief and heartbreak when Edith shows up and tells the truth about Marigold's parentage. She screams at her husband for lying to her, tears up Edith's copy of the birth certificate, but ultimately there's nothing she can do. Not only would it be wrong to keep Marigold from her birth mother, but Edith is the daughter of their upper-class landlord. They have no choice but to let Marigold go.
  • Good Parents: She loves children, and has three of her own, which is why her husband agrees to the below.
  • Housewife: She looks after the running of the farmhouse, and cares for her three children, as well as her adopted daughter Marigold, whilst Tim is out working the land.
  • The Kindnapper: In Series 6, she's clearly not over losing Marigold, and at a local fete, she sees her opportunity and snatches the child back to Yew Tree Farm, convinced that it was the right thing to do as Marigold looked "bored" and "ignored". Tim Drewe, realising that neither Edith or his wife will ever be happy living in close proximity, makes plans to move his family off the estate with immediate effect.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Initially. After Tim Drewe agrees to raise Lady Edith's illegitimate daughter, he promises that not even Margie, his wife, will be made aware of the child's true parentage.
  • Mama Bear: Following Edith's increasing interest in Marigold, Margie, not knowing the full situation, becomes extremely protective of her adopted daughter and attempts to agressively block Edith's involvment in the child's life.
    Margie: I'm sorry she wants a child but she can't have ours and that's flat!
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Luckily (sort of), Margie initially mistakes Edith's constant popping over to the farm as a sign she's keen on her husband, as opposed to pining for her daughter.
  • Parental Substitute: To Lady Edith's illegitimate daughter, up until the end of Series 5.

Mr Simon Bricker

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/simonbricker2_7866.png

Portrayed by: Richard E. Grant

"I think everything about Downton is beautiful."

  • But Not Too White: A lot of comment is made about how tanned he appears (unusual for the period), which he explains is due to him arriving at Downton fresh from Egypt (Alexandria to be precise).
  • The Charmer: As soon as he turns up at Downton, he begins a subtle flirtation with Cora. In episode 3, he treats her to an evening of fine art and wine in London, and he makes it painfully obvious that he not only admires her but would love nothing more than to start a full-blown affair with her.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: He's an art historian, and visits Downton in 1924 to view a particular Della Francesca painting.
  • Handsome Lech: In episode 5, he goes too far in his flirtations with Cora and pushes his way into her room when he thinks Robert has gone out for the evening. Robert, having returned unexpectedly early, catches Bricker looming over Cora and gives him a much-needed thrashing. Bricker leaves in high-dudgeon the next morning.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: It's a world Grant is quite familiar with, having demonstrated his footman skills in 2001's Gosford Park, which was penned by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
    • Grant and Elizabeth McGovern (Cora) played husband and wife in the 1998 adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He could well be right that Robert sometimes takes Cora for granted, however that does not give him the right to suggest an affair with her, or force unwanted advances upon her.
  • Special Guest: Downton adds yet more big names to its cast list, following the news that Grant has signed up for Series 5.

His Serene Highness, Prince (Knyaz) Igor Kuragin

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kuragin_5231.png

Portrayed by: Rade Šerbedžija

"I hope you can forgive me, but when I knew the others are coming I could not resist the temptation."

  • Blue Blood: Russian noble princes hold the style of Serenity.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, Anna and Mrs Hughes discuss and organise the donation of clothing to help the Russian refugees.
  • New Old Flame: When he arrives at Downton with his fellow refugees, it's instantly clear that he and Violet share a romantic past, as she is uncharacteristically speechless and rather giddy when he greets her. She later reveals to Isobel that they first met during a ball at St Petersburg's Winter Palace in 1874 and fell madly in love. Having decided to elope, they were on route to the Prince's yacht when his wife, Princess Irina, caught up to them and physically removed Violet from their getaway carriage, which caused her to see sense and go back to Lord Grantham. When the pair are reunited in 1924, the Prince makes it quite clear that he wishes to spend his remaining days in her company, despite the fact that he is still married. However, Violet, out of compassion for Princess Irina, insists that she cannot reciprocate and by the close of the Series 5 Christmas special, they part ways.
  • Noble Fugitive: He's a Russian Prince (Knyaz) and fled his homeland following the Russian Revolution of 1917.
  • Riches to Rags: After all their assets were confiscated by the Soviets, the once fabulously wealthy prince and his friend Rostov are now dependant on the charity of the church to survive.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: The poor chap's reduced to living in what can only be described as a slum.
  • Silver Fox: He's a dashingly handsome older gent.
  • War Refugees: Displaced by the Revolution, he travels to England.

His Illustrious Highness, Count (Graf) Nikolai Rostov

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rostov_1800.png

Portrayed by: Christopher Rozycki

"How dare you say such things to me! She curses the name of our holy father, the Tsar!"

  • Berserk Button: Taking the Tsar's name in vain causes an explosive reaction, as Sarah Bunting discovers. He's also not fond of Russian Jews.
  • Blue Blood: Russian counts hold the style of Illustriousness.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, Anna and Mrs Hughes discuss and organise the donation of clothing to help the Russian refugees.
  • Jerkass: He hates Jews, an extremely common and particularly venomous prejudice among the Russian aristocracy of the 19th century.
  • Nice Hat: Sports a fur shapka or winter hat.
  • Noble Fugitive: He's a Russian Count (Graf), and accompanies his friend Prince Kuragin.
  • Riches to Rags: As per his friend Kuragin, above.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Still haunted by the horrors of the revolution, he is highly emotional, especially when Miss Bunting insensitively voices support for the Bolsheviks in casual conversation.
  • War Refugees: Displaced by the Revolution, he travels to England.

The Honourable Mabel Lane Fox

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mabellanefox_7236.png

Portrayed by: Catherine Steadman

"It's not often you meet the woman you were jilted for."

  • Blue Blood: She's the only daughter of the late Lord Osweston.
  • Call-Back: Frequently mentioned in Series 4 as the fiancée of Lord Gillingham, in Series 5, she makes her debut.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: After Mary makes it quite clear to Tony that their relationship is not to be (snogging Charles right in front of him probably helps), he finally gets the message, bids his farewell to Mary, and recommences his relationship with Mabel.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Gillingham proposed to her off-screen in Series 4, after the recently-widowed Lady Mary turned down his proposal. However, he decided to call it off later on because of his insuppressible desire for Mary.
  • Double Standard: She rather unfairly blames Mary (the "other woman") for Tony breaking off their engagement, even though he did it of his own free will, without any prompting from Mary (who actually turned down his proposal).
  • Proud Beauty
  • Rank Up: She attains the rank of Viscountess once she marries Tony Gillingham in the latter part of Series 6.
  • The Rival: She and Lady Mary. Both women are proud, haughty Society beauties with a knack for dry, snarky wit, although they'd doubtless never admit the similarity. Mabel's hostile attitude towards Mary isn't helped by the Gillingham fiasco, mentioned above. Their rivalry is solidified when the pair are pitted against each other at the point-to-point in episode 6.
  • Shout-Out: It took 'til Series 6 but eventually her surname combined with her rivalry with Mary is acknowledged as a reference to the English fairy tale Mr. Fox with the facts mentioned in-universe as a funny coincidence.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: In her very first scene she almost manages to out-Mary Mary with the withering remark above, and displays a level of haughty confidence she was not expecting.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: She's more than a match for Mary, who just about keeps a smile plastered to her face when confronted with the woman whose fianceé she stole away...
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She gives Mary and Charles a real dressing-down during a dinner at Simpson's-in-the-Strand that he has contrived to help build bridges:
    Mabel: All I know is that Tony broke off our engagement, which I have not deserved, because Mary Crawley crooked her little finger at him. Now you're bored, you want someone else to play with, so to dry his tears and keep him occupied, you toss him back to me. I'm going.
    Charles: What shall we do with your food?
    Mabel: Eat it. And I hope it chokes you.
  • Woman Scorned: She loves Tony Gillingham and was left very hurt (and tetchy) following the break-off of their engagement.

The Honourable Atticus Aldridge

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/atticusa.png

Portrayed by: Matt Barber

"Would you let me give you dinner when you're in London?"

  • Awesome Mc Coolname
    Rosamund: He sounds like the hero of a novel by Mrs Humphry Ward.
  • Blue Blood: Just about — his father was created Lord Sinderby in the recent past.
  • Boy Meets Girl: A chance encounter whilst sheltering from a storm ignites his relationship with Rose.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: When Downton creator Julian Fellowes' friend's daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he supported research into the condition by donating the centrepiece auction prize at a fundraising event; the opportunity for a lucky bidder to have a character in the next season created in their name. The winning bidder opted for the new character to take his son’s wonderfully Downton-esque name.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: His father is not pleased at all when Atticus starts dating the Anglican Lady Rose, mostly due to the fact that he wants to preserve the family's Jewish heritage.
  • Frame-Up: His stag party almost becomes the topic of enormous scandal when he is set up by Rose's mother, Lady Flintshire, who pays a prostitute to be photographed entering his room as part of a nasty scheme to split him and Rose up. She fails, thank goodness.
  • Hunk: With his tall, broad frame and full, kissable lips, he's undeniably a bit of a dish.
  • Love Interest: For Lady Rose.
  • Multiethnic Name: Despite sporting a name that sounds quintessentially (posh) English, Rose reveals that his full name incorporates the very Jewish Ephraim.
  • Nice Jewish Boy: He's well-mannered and sweet, and reveals to Rose, somewhat delicately, that his family is of Russian-Jewish extraction.
  • Preppy Name: It doesn't get much more sloaney than Atticus.
  • Romance Ensues: In Series 5, he and Lady Rose first meet when they must necessarily take shelter together, having been Caught in the Rain. This chance encounter ignites Rose's first genuinely reciprocal romance since her Series 3 debut, and they make a very handsome couple. By episode 7, he has proposed.
  • Stag Party: His last night of freedom is depicted in episode 8.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: He and Lady Rose meet during a raging downpour, where he gallantly offers to shelter her whilst she fumbles with her own umbrella.
  • Wedding Day: The Series 5 finale depicts his wedding to Lady Rose.
  • You Have to Have Jews

The Right Honourable Daniel Aldridge, Baron Sinderby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lords22.png

Portrayed by: James Faulkner

"We have a proud history, and we've taken our place among the leaders of this land, and now you want throw all that away for this little shiksa!"

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He's incredibly rude to both his own and any visiting servants — something that is considered the height of bad form amongst the more seasoned members of the aristocracy.
    Sinderby: Bring that back here, you stupid fool.
  • Big Fancy House: His home, Canningford Grange, was something of a ruin before he used his vast wealth to restore it to its former glory.
  • Blue Blood: First generation — he was raised to the peerage, taking the title Baron Sinderby (thus more commonly known as Lord Sinderby); it seems that the family built some kind of entrepreneurial empire and networked with the right people and was rewarded accordingly. That his barony is hereditary, while highly unusual today, would have been the norm back then; the general creation of life peerages was not permitted until 1958. Prior to 1958, life peerages were mostly given to appellate judges (chiefly so they could sit as the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, a.k.a. the Law Lordsnote ), with the rest going to a few high-ranking civil servants.
  • Break the Haughty: In the Series 5 Christmas day special his Dark Secret is revealed; the fact that he has a mistress, Diana Clarke, and even a young son, Daniel (named after him!). Scandal almost erupts at a family gathering after Thomas anonymously invites Ms Clarke to attend the party in an attempt to get back at both Sinderby and Stowell for their previous rudeness. Luckily, quick-thinking Rose leaps to her mortified father-in-law's aid and breezily introduces Ms Clarke as an old friend of hers, thus avoiding a scandal. Sinderby is eternally grateful to Rose thereafter.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Throughout Series 5 he's stiff, cold and haughtily disapproving — until Rose saves his bacon in the Christmas Special (as mentioned above).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While he's not exactly "evil" per se, he's certainly not a nice person. Despite this, when accused of being behind the attempted break up of Atticus and Rose's marriage, he's hugely offended and furiously protests his innocence. He's Atticus' father after all, and wants him to be happy.
  • Grumpy Bear: Whilst everyone else plays happy families at the dinner to introduce the Aldridges to the Crawleys, he maintains a sour façade.
  • Guttural Growler: Has a voice like gravel.
  • Irony: The Jewish blood that he is trying to preserve, which is the main reason he tries to stop the wedding of Atticus and Rose, will be very unfortunate for his descendants in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In an additional twist, the fact that his prospective grandchildren will be English (something he is again not happy about) will actually help to protect them from the horrors suffered by Polish, German and French Jews on the continent, due to the fact that England was never subject to Nazi invasion.
  • Leitmotif: The Series 5 Christmas day special introduces the Sinderby family theme; "Brancaster Castle".
  • Obnoxious In-Laws He's stony-faced, rather severe, and apparently not too keen on the match between his son and Lady Rose, mostly due to the fact that Rose is Anglican and his family are Jewish.
  • Perpetual Frowner
  • Precision F-Strike: As seen from his quote above, he refers to Rose as a "shiksa", a highly derogatory term used to describe a non-Jewish woman. "Impure" or "abomination" are direct translations, so it's clear why Atticus explodes with rage...
  • The Proud Elite: He's very proud of both his Jewish heritage, and how far his family has come in just a few generations, considering his grandparents escaped genocide in Russia with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
  • Rags to Riches: Having settled in England, the Aldridge family amassed a considerable fortune in banking.
  • Run for the Border: His grandparents escaped Russia, following the anti-Jewish Odessa pogroms of 1859 and 1871, and settled in England.
  • Secret Other Family: As explained above, he has a young mistress named Diana, who bore his son in the recent past. Atticus and his wife Rachel have no idea, of course.
  • You Have to Have Jews
  • Your Cheating Heart: His mistress and illegitimate son are revealed in the Series 5 Christmas special.

The Right Honourable Rachel Aldridge, Baroness Sinderby

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ladysinderby_2653.png

Portrayed by: Penny Downie

"Atticus has taken quite a shine to your niece, and I must say I find her quite charming."

  • Blue Blood: Sort of — her husband is a recently created peer. As the wife of a Baron, her official title is Baroness, though in conversation she would always be referred to as "Lady", as seen in-series.
  • Good Parents: Atticus confirms his mother is lovely, but his father is another story.
  • Mama Bear: She's calm and congenial throughout Series 5, but when her disapproving husband threatens to come between their son and Rose, she let's him know in no uncertain terms (even threatening him with divorce) that she will not allow it to happen.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's a warm, yet vigilant matriarch, and her gracious, gentle manners are the perfect complement to her modern mindset and sharp wit.
  • Women Are Wiser: She's friendlier and much less reactionary than her husband.
  • You Have to Have Jews

The Honourable Timothy Grey

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/timgrey_5448.png

Portrayed by: Ed Cooper Clarke

"What did you imagine? That we’d welcome you with open arms?"


Her Serene Highness, Princess (Knyaginya) Irina Kuragin

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/irinak_5641.png

Portrayed by: Jane Lapotaire

"Last time we met, the circumstances were rather different."

  • Blue Blood: Russian noble princesses hold the style of Serenity.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Mentioned throughout Series 5 as Prince Kuragin's missing wife. In the Christmas Day Special, the lady herself appears after Violet pulls strings behind the scenes to have her brought out of exile and reunited with her husband — which puts paid to his idea of spending the rest of his life with Violet....
  • Christmas Special: She makes her debut in the Series 5 Christmas Day Special.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Despite all that Violet did to bring her out of exile, she's having none of it, and treats her benefactress with a frigid contempt. Given that Violet did try to steal her husband the last time they met, she is perhaps somewhat justified.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
  • Foreshadowing: In the Series 4 Christmas Special, Anna and Mrs Hughes discuss and organise the donation of clothing to help the Russian refugees.
  • Grande Dame: Unsmiling, brisk, and with a granite-like façade, she provides a perfect example.
  • Ice Queen: As cold as Siberia....
  • Love Triangle: Back in St Petersburg during the 1870's, her husband Igor fell in love with a visiting Violet Crawley and one night, the pair ran away together, hoping to reach his yacht. Irina caught up to them and physically dragged Violet from their getaway carriage before sending her packing back to Lord Grantham. Needless to say, it must be difficult for her to accept Violet's help and hospitality half a century later...
  • Noble Fugitive: She's a Russian Princess (Knyaginya), and the missing wife of Prince Kuragin. Both fled Russia following the Revolution of 1917.
  • Riches to Rags: Like her husband and their friend Count Rostov, all of her assets were confiscated following the Revolution. She even has to borrow a dress from Violet in order to look suitably presentable for dinner at the Dower House.
  • War Refugees: Displaced by the Revolution, she boarded a boat to Hong Kong.

Mr Henry Talbot

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/henrytalbotda_1921.png

Portrayed by: Matthew Goode

"I'm here for the night, so I don't want you scowling at me all through dinner."

  • Babies Ever After: His story concludes with him happily married to Mary and with her pregnant with their first child.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: As soon as he and Mary meet, the flirty banter is instant, and constant. In fact, unlike most of her previous suitors, he's something of a Spear Counterpart to Mary, being as he is, on the one hand, self-assured and aloof, yet magnetically beguiling on the other.
  • Blue Blood: In Series 6, it is revealed that he is the nephew of the Dowager Lady Shackleton and is distantly in line to the Earldom of Shrewsbury. However, as his aunt puts it, "forty strong men would have to drop dead" before Henry could inherit the title.
  • Bromance: With Tom Branson, throughout Series 6.
  • Christmas Special: He makes his debut in the Series 5 Christmas Day Special.
  • Cool Car: At the end of the Christmas Special, he leaps into his roadster The Dukes of Hazzard style, before speeding off from Brancaster Castle, leaving a beguiled Lady Mary in his wake.
    • Series 6 further reveals his passion for cars, and he takes part in a high-speed race with his friend Charlie Rogers.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: In his pursuit of Mary.
  • Green Eyes: He possesses beautifully piercing eyes of an unusual aquamarine green colour.
  • Offscreen Crash: During a thrilling race at Brooklands, he and his best friend Charlie Rogers are involved in a pile-up on a bend during the final lap. Tragically, despite Henry's his best efforts to pull him free from the burning wreckage, Charlie dies at the scene. Henry is left reeling, and wracked with Survivor Guilt.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: He's charming, impeccably well-mannered and dashingly handsome. He's also quintessential in his passion for the newly-emerging arena of motorsports — a glamorous, risky pursuit that was taken up by some of the more daredevil members of the upper class throughout the 'roaring' twenties.
  • Replacement Love Interest: After the romance fizzles out between Mary and Tony/Charles/Evelyn at the end of Series 5, he is introduced as potential new suitor. Series 6 chronicles their Will They or Won't They? relationship, which is mostly due to Mary's difficulty in reconciling his love of motor-racing with Matthew's death at the wheel in Series 3.
  • Start My Own: In the grand finale, he and Branson open a car dealership — Branson & Talbot – as joint owners, which acts as a outlet for their shared love of cars.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: The latest dashingly handsome hunk to catch Mary's eye.
  • They Do / Wedding Day: After a bumpy start, Mary gets over her issues with his choice of career and they marry in a beautiful village church ceremony at the close of the Series 6 finale.

Mr Herbert "Bertie" Pelham

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/516d5ce2ff11648f6254b9531b6e9eed.png

Portrayed by: Harry Hadden-Paton

"I'm staying for dinner, which they really didn't have to do."

  • Blue Blood: As well as being the agent of Brancaster Castle, which is rented out by Lord Sinderby for the Series 5 Christmas special, he is actually a third cousin of the owner, Lord Hexham. In Series 6 he is revealed to be heir to the Marquessate and inherits the title when his third cousin unexpectedly dies.
  • Christmas Special: He makes his debut in the Series 5 Christmas Day Special.
  • Impoverished Patrician: One supposes, if he's had to take on an actual job.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: He's a passive, gentle sort, and in Series 6, after he learns of his cousin's death, he cries openly in front of Edith's assembled family — something that would be considered quite indecorous for men of the period.
  • Momma's Boy: His mother is the only family he really has, and he is very close to her, despite her controlling nature.
  • Preppy Name: "Bertie" was a classic Sloaney nickname back in the 1920s, and is most famously sported by Bertie Wooster from P G Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster works.
    • This may even be a direct reference; Wodehouse's full name is Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.
  • Replacement Love Interest: Set up for Edith in Series 5, and they share a dance at a party to mark the end of the grouse. The pair are somewhat Birds of a Feather, what them both being slightly unfortunate, and living in the shadow of more confident family members.
  • Self-Deprecation: When he chats with Edith, this is his default topic of conversation.
  • The Slacker: A mild example, but he does remark to Edith that he has very little ambitions in life, for he is very content where he is. Edith, perhaps wanting to avoid any more dramas in life, rather likes this.
  • They Do: Despite Bertie’s initial shock at finding out about Marigold, which led him to break their engagement, he and Edith are reconciled by the Series’ grand finale and marry in a beautiful winter ceremony at the village church.
  • Unexpected Inheritance / Rank Up: In the Series 6 finale, following the death of his cousin, Bertie becomes Marquess of Hexham — a title that means that when he and Edith get married, she'll have a higher rank (Marchioness) than anyone in her immediate family!
  • Unlucky Everydude: Atticus specifically states that he and his family tend to feel "slightly sorry for him", and he exhibits an overtly humble, resigned manner.
    Mary (to Edith): Not another one of your hard luck cases again?

The Most Honourable George Oceans Gravity, Marquess of Hollywood

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cba868a06b7cc47e45dc5ecf284a7c39.png

Portrayed by: George Clooney

"Lady Violet, you are as beautiful and charming as ever." *mwah*

  • Alternate Universe / It's a Wonderful Plot: He appears in a strictly-for-laughs mini-episode, commissioned for ITV's 2014 "Text Santa" charity appeal, which begins with Robert announcing he has frittered the family fortune and wishing he had never been born. Whisked away by an angelic Joanna Lumley, Robert is promptly presented with a vision of what a Crawley-less Downtown might look like, and we were introduced to Clooney's brasher, spiffier Lord Grantham 2.0.
  • Blithe Spirit: The whole household becomes hilariously louche under his authority.
  • The Casanova: Naturally — he's George Clooney.
  • Celebrity Star: His star status was put to good effect, helping to generate support for the six charities aided by the appeal.
  • Christmas Special: He makes his guest appearance in a 2014 Downton parody episode, which formed the centrepiece of ITV's "Text Santa" Christmas charity appeal.
  • Parody Episode: The mini-episode is one big sportingly humorous Take That! at Downton's familiar narrative devices — telegrams of doom, Robert losing the family fortune, Edith's tragic love-life, Branson fretting about his place in the world, Thomas lurking behind the curtains (part of his job description) and even a sporting dig at creator Julian Fellowes' obsession with ensuring the right cutlery is used, despite the series' increasingly zany plotlines.
  • Parody Sue: His character parodies his image as a suave, charming lothario, and the whole cast falls instantly in love with him.
  • Punny Name: His character's last names are a Shout-Out to two of his biggest films — Ocean's Eleven and Gravity.

    Introduced in Series 6 

Sir John Darnley, Baronet

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sirjohnd11.png

Portrayed by: Adrian Lukis

"We've kept a few portraits to make a good show in the London house."

  • Blue Blood
  • Impoverished Patrician: Sir John is the owner and custodian of Mallerton Hall — up until 1925 that is, by which time all his money has dried up and he has had to have a house and contents sale, selling everything including the silver and even a portrait of his grandmother. These actions shock Robert, his longtime friend.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He's stated to be Robert's "longtime friend", but it's taken six series for him to make an appearance.
  • Shadow Archetype: He's essentially used as a character device to highlight the increasing decline of the aristocracy, and to show what could very well happen to Downton Abbey and all those who live and work there if Lord Grantham fails in his task to keep his ancestral home safe from ruin.

Sir Michael Reresby, Baronet

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sirmichaelr.png

Portrayed by: Ronald Pickup

"When the good times return, they will all come back. We must be ready"

  • Blue Blood: Of the eccentric, impoverished variety.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: His home, Dryden Park.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Poor old Sir Michael lives all alone in his huge ancestral home and it's clear that the combination of isolation, the loss of his wife and sons, his age, and the trauma of losing his status in the community, has sent him a little batty. Indeed, he confidently tells Thomas, who has has come for an interview, that the good times will return....
  • Impoverished Patrician: He is the owner and custodian of Dryden Park, a once splendid house that counted the Queen of Spain as a guest in times past. However, the house is now mostly empty, and it's clear he spends much of his time in one main sitting room (even drying his smalls by the fire), whilst the rest of the house falls into bleak, dusty disrepair.
  • Riches to Rags: Not exactly rags, but he's certainly dangerously near the breadline and has retained only one maid in a house that probably used to have thirty or forty staff.
  • Shadow Archetype: He plays a similar role to Sir John above, but represents a different, though equally unappealing outcome for Robert;— hanging on to the good old ways in increasingly impoverished, deluded desperation.

The Right Honourable Neville Chamberlain MP

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nevillechamberlain.png

Portrayed by: Rupert Frazer

"Goodness! I thought I was here to be lectured by a united group, not to witness a battle royale!"

  • Former Teen Rebel: Violet uses her knowledge of his colourful youth (he and his mates once dug a trench underneath Piccadilly) to finagle him into visiting the Abbey for dinner and supporting her case in the village hospital argument.
  • Historical-Domain Character: At the time the series is set, Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 – 9 November 1940) was a British Conservative politician and the Minister for Health. He visits Downton for dinner in episode 4 of Series 6, and is drawn into Violet’s plan to save the hospital.
  • Only Sane Man: During his visit to Downton, he is drawn into the squabble over the village hospital, and seems very surprised that he is caught up in the middle of such a vociferous drama in the genteel setting of the Abbey dining room.

Miss Laura Edmunds

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/laurae.png

Portrayed by: Antonia Bernath

"I'm glad no-one seems unhappy that Lady Edith hired a woman."

  • Ship Tease: A budding romance with Tom Branson is teased at the close of the Series' grand finale — she even catches the bouquet at Edith's wedding send-off.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Befitting the role of a hot, young magazine editor, she lights up in most of her scenes.
  • You Go, Girl!: She represents a pioneering new wave of young women who took on traditionally male roles in the workplace during the 1920s. In her case, she's one of the few female magazine editors at the time.

Miss Amelia Cruikshank

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ameliac.png

Portrayed by: Phoebe Sparrow

"I know you and Larry rather got off on the wrong foot, but please know that not all of Lord Merton's family feel the same way."

  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite her veneer of relaxed, elegant charm and insistence that the Grey family doesn't disapprove of Isobel, Violet smells a rat. After dropping in on Miss Cruickshank unannounced, Violet manages to extract the real reason for her olive branch to Isobel; she wants the family estate of Cavenham Park all to herself, and wants Isobel around to care for Lord Merton in his old age — something she herself is completely unwilling to do.
  • Blue Blood: She's the fiancée of Lord Merton's son, Larry Grey.
  • Evil Duo: With her husband, Larry.
  • Greed: Her main motivation, as it turns out.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She reveals herself to be a morally defunct, scheming bitch who basically just wants her father-in-law Dickie to die as quickly as possible so she can get her hands on the swag.
  • Politeness Judo: She never drops her polite façade, even in the face of a grilling by the Dowager.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Her tactics change in the Series' grand finale when she finds out that Lord Merton is apparently dying from anaemia. Hoping that she'll have Cavenham all to herself sooner than she once thought, she does all she can to block Isobel from seeing him, even going so far as to keep Lord Merton something of an unwitting virtual prisoner in his own home.

Miss Lucy Philpotts

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/misslucy.png

Portrayed by: Hayley Jane Standing

"I'm sorry Auntie Beryl, I - I thought you might not come! I'm going nearly mad here!"

  • Beleaguered Assistant: She's Mrs Patmore's niece, and helps her to run the bed and breakfast she purchases in the village during Series 6. Between her aunt's fiery temper and her first guests using the b&b for a scandalous, dirty weekend, she's got her work cut out...
  • Nephewism: Mrs Patmore has no children of her own, but Lucy is a near enough relation to be trusted with running her new venture.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: She's the spit of her aunt, from her broad, portly frame to her bright red hair.

Mrs Mirada Pelham

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrspelham8.png

Portrayed by: Patricia Hodge

"If you’re to make a success here, you can’t afford to put a foot wrong."


  • Christmas Special: She appears in the 2015 Christmas Day special.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: When first introduced, she is a stiff, moralising termagant who interrupts her son Bertie at every turn. However, once she comes to realise what a good match Edith is for her Bertie (Edith's honesty over Marigold helps a lot), she gives the couple her blessing.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Makes her debut in the final ever episode.
  • Moral Guardians: In her mind, the "immorality" of cousin Peter's reign led Brancaster Castle's reputation to flounder, and she is therefore insistent that her son Bertie govern with the highest levels of moral probity.
  • My Beloved Smother: She's Bertie Pelham's overbearing mother, and is very controlling over her son in all aspects of his life. She is initially displeased about his engagement to Edith after the latter tells her the truth about her scandalous illegitimate daughter, but relents by the time of their engagement party dinner.
  • Special Guest: A veteran of both the West End and UK television, Hodge is perhaps best known in recent years amongst UK audiences for playing Miranda's mum. She also has some connections to the Downton Abbey cast, having played Phyllida Trant in Rumpole of the Bailey alongside Jonathan Coy (Murray) and Samantha Bond (Lady Rosamund).


Advertisement:
Top