Tomorrow’s “Downton Abbey” episode can be best defined as something special, something strange, and something chaotic. This is what happens when you get almost every important character together in the same place, throw a house party, and then throw some new guests into the mix. If this was a different show, we’d suggest that someone was going to get drunk and set the bathroom on fire.
But this will be an important episode for characters old and new. On the series regular front, for example, Elizabeth McGovern’s Cora is going to have more on her hands this week than any other. With this party, she will be tasked with helping to ensure that all runs smoothly, communicating with Mr. Carson, and also entertaining the other “I’m richer than most of Britain” combined guests. As someone who has hosted quite a few parties in the day, being a host is often a daunting task. The larger the party, the smaller amount of fun you are likely to have.
On the front of new additions, meanwhile, we prepare to say hello to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who is playing a singer performing at the party. It is most unusual for the show to cast celebrities of any form, save for maybe Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti, but to have a famed singer playing a singer in a different era? That’s a little bit different and obviously Dame Kanawa agrees, since she tells the Mirror about the sort of shock she had upon first getting the gig:
“I got an email saying something about an accident at Downton and thought, ‘Why are they telling me this?’ But I didn’t have my glasses on and it really said “enquiry” at Downton.
“It’s my most favourite programme in the entire world. When they asked me to be in it I couldn’t say yes fast enough. It was the most wonderful thing. The story is very special with the most beautiful actors.”
The singer also had a challenge of actually playing someone in Dame Nellie Melba who was actually a real person in the era, and that comes with its own challenges. She has a little bit of dialogue in the episode with Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Tom (Allen Leech), so this is a part reserved for more than just singing.
Clearly, we are ready to get our party on 1920s-style, but are you? Take a look at a couple of resources below to get you prepared for the big occasion.
1. Photos of Michelle Dockery and Lily James from the episode.
2. A sneak peek, which highlights the relationship that is starting to form (even if it is just a friendly one) with Dockery’s Mary and Tom Cullen’s Lord Anthony Gillingham.