‘Downton Abbey’ season 5 spoilers: Richard E. Grant on new role, Maggie Smith

Take a look -Are you ready to see a new face in the world of “Downton Abbey“? Well, one of the nice things about Richard E. Grant is that he combines a little bit of the old with the new. He’s an actor who you may have seen in a variety of other things, but never in this particular environment. He also has a history of working with Maggie Smith, as the two were a part of the “Gosford Park” cast together many years ago … as was show executive producer Julian Fellowes, who was a writer on the film.

Speaking in a new interview with Vulture about his part of “Girls” season 3 and some other subjects of conversation,  the actor shared a pretty funny anecdote about how he thought he would never get the gig:

“Of all the Gosford cast, only Dame Maggie Smith was cast in Downton Abbey. I thought there was kind of, for want of a better term, a creative embargo there. That Julian didn’t want any overlap … Journalists over the years have said to me, ‘Are you going to be in Downton? Why aren’t you in Downton?’ I didn’t feel like I could email Julian to say, ‘Oy! Can you please write me a part?’

“He knows who everyone is. He was an actor. I would imagine if I had done that it might have had the reverse effect. So nothing happened, and I thought, ‘Ah well, I’ve missed out on the Harry Potter franchise, and I’ll miss out on the Downton phenomenon’. 

“Then a month ago, I got an email asking if I’d do four episodes, and instead of playing someone downstairs, like I did in Gosford years ago, would I play someone upstairs? I said yes fast. But it’s possible someone else turned it down or dropped dead. Who knows?”

For those hoping to grab more details, Grant is having to be for the most part coy. However, he would divulge that his character is an art historian by the name of Simon Bricker … and that is about it save for his episode count (which is almost half of the season). This is a show that is notoriously tight-lipped about some of its stories, and we understand why. When you have a show that relies so heavily on plot and nothing else, you need the element of surprise.

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Photo: ITV

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