Jul 25 2012 6:39pm

Hollywood Knocks on Downton’s Door: Downton Abbey’s Celebrity Fans

Maggie Smith in Downton AbbeyWe’ve talked about the ripple effect of the show before, but it appears that no one is immune to the phenomenon that is Downton Abbey. Indeed, the ITV drama that showcases the lives of Britain’s working classes and the aristocracy they serve during the early 1900s apparently has fans from all walks of life—even the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Gareth Neame talked Season 3 guest stars, rumored celeb cameos (did you hear the one about Jamie Lee Curtis?), and set visits from real-life royalty (Pippa Middleton). According to the article, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama are also among the obsessed viewers, while Maggie Gyllenhall is another who hopes to get in front of the camera at some point.

Looking beyond Season 3, Neame said about the longevity of show, “We have to balance between continuing to make it for audiences around the world that adore it and making sure that we don’t take it too far … which is not now and not next year, but likely five years or six years, not 10 years.” And with reports that fan favorite Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, Queen of the pithy one-liner, has not yet signed on beyond Season 5, the future landscape of the show is ever evolving.

What Hollywood celeb would you love to see grace the halls of Downton Abbey? And would you still tune into a Downton without a Dowager? Plus, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Season 3 spoilers released earlier this week.

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Lynne Connolly
1. Lynne Connolly
just wanted to say that it's not a BBC drama, it's ITV, the rival network.
I think it's confused by the fact that BBC America is a separate entity and buys dramas from all the networks.
I thought it was only having 3 series, and then that would be it.
Maggie Smith had an awful row with one of the producers and walked out, but they fired the producer and she came back.
I loved the first series, but thought the second series was a soapy disaster. We watched the grisly mess right up to "It's a miracle!" when the UK Twitter stream erupted with raucous jokes and laughter. Hope the author gets it together in the third series.
There are some great new dramas you might like to have a look at, btw. "Line of Duty" is a police thriller that really kept me on the edge of my seat.
Oh yes, and "The Hollow Crown" bowled me over. It's the name commonly given to the four plays of "Richard II," Henry IV" parts 1 and 2, and "Henry V." Filmed on location, starring the best actors around, you can't miss this one. Tom (Loki) Hiddlestone as Prince Hal/Henry V, Ben Whishaw as Richard II and Jeremy Irons as Henry IV, with Patrick Stewart, Simon Russell Beale, James Purefoy, and you-name-it there.
I mention it here because Michele Dockery plays the wife of Hotspur (she's in the trailer).
Hell Cat
2. Hell Cat
I think without Dame Maggie Smith, it falls apart. She is very much the countess, gives the soul and spine of the show. There's a certain level of vingear to the character that forces the rest of the characters to respond. Hopefully she'll stick around for awhile.

I thought the show was on PBS here in the states. It's on BBCA? Huh. I never noticed that but I haven't watched the station in awhile, either. I got tired of the repeats.
Lynne Connolly
3. Lynne Connolly
I'm in the UK, and we watch it on ITV, the rival network to the BBC. I'm not sure which network runs it in the US, but when Allison said "BBC," I thought that was where the confusion might have arisen.
Tatiana deCarillion
4. decarillion
It does air on PBS, in the states, and it's also streaming on Amazon Video (free to PRIME members, I might add!)

@lynnec, we're watching Line of Duty, and it's terrific, as are many of those short series that come from ITV. I wish US TV would take a page from their book and just do 'short' stories that span two to six episodes, and be done with it. We'd have a wide variety of shows, then, and wouldn't have to worry about ratings canceling the shows, nearly as much.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
@lynnec @Hell Cat @decarillion -- Thanks for the correction, you guys! You're right, it's ITV in Britain and PBS in the U.S. I'll go in and edit that now.
6. wsl0612
All I can say is I hope none of "Hollywood" gets in! There are very few that can qualify for a period drama and those who do are generally too expensive. And seriously no royalty either, come on, that's just pandering!
Hell Cat
7. M. Oakley
Please no more Americans in the cast. Can't stand crazy Shirley and everyone acts circles around McGovern (Cora). Please Hollywood stay away from my beloved DA!!
Hell Cat
8. Unicorn
Not that I have anything personal against Hollywood folks, but to be honest, the British actors are so much more talented! The one actor I would absolutely love to see on DA is the magnificent Benedict Cumberbatch, who is so wonderfully gifted and who, I think, could play anyone from a servant to a duke with incredible aplomb. He also has such innate dignity - plus, he's an old Harrovian - that he would be perfect as an aristocrat. He'd give the phrase "to the manor born" a whole new meaning!
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