‘Downton Abbey’ season 4: Elizabeth McGovern credits humor, Maggie Smith for show success

Cora -Downton Abbey” is pretty well undisputed at this point as one of the most-important shows on television, at least when you are speaking about ratings and cultural impact; and while you would think that most people would be watching it for the costumes or the complex storytelling, there may be another element that is the X factor for what brings this show to another level than the other period dramas out there: Humor. Yep, that’s right: The rare moments that you want to laugh.


This is at least the philosophy of one of the show’s stars in Elizabeth McGovern, who spoke on the subject recently in The Big Issue. Specifically, she cited Maggie Smith as one of the people who is able to shift the show occasionally to a different tone, and present a different layer that may not always be there:

“I think one of the things that I think saves the show is that there’s a sort of bubbling sense of humour about itself. It’s almost like you could play the scenes exactly as we play them as a satire of Downton Abbey and they would work completely.

“I think that’s why the Maggie Smith character is so important. She always cuts right through the melodrama, which is the machine behind the stories, but she cuts through it with that sense of humour, and all the actors – whether coincidentally or whether this is part of some masterplan – all have a sense of humour.”

We expect to see plenty more Maggie humor this coming season, especially when Shirley MacLaine shows up near the end for more story as Cora’s mother Martha.

Do you want to read some more news related to “Downton Abbey”? Then click here, where you can read some more scoop about Joanne Froggatt on set. The new season of the hit show is slated to premiere in Britain at some point in mid-September, and on PBS on Sunday, January 6.

Photo: ITV

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