By: Adina Bernstein
The final season of Downton Abbey currently in production (sad face). On January 3, 2016, Downton Abbey returns on PBS with its 6th and final season. Until then, let’s celebrate Downton Abbey’s many redhead actors as we prepare to say farewell to the characters and we’ve all come to love:
1. Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore, Series 1-Present)
Downton’s resident cook, Mrs. Patmore’s has zingers and one liners are second only to the Dowager’s. While Mrs. Patmore may seem like she is a tough boss to work for, she is actually a softie, especially when it come to her assistant cook/surrogate daughter Daisy. A fun fact that has been discussed in many interviews with Ms. Nicol is that her talents in the kitchen, unlike her fictional counterpart, are limited.
2. Amy Nuttall (Ethel Parks, Series 2-3)
Ethel is the “poor Edith” of the downstairs characters. Naïve, and sometimes foolish, Ethel is mocked and taken advantage of by her colleagues. After sleeping with a soldier who is later killed in battle, she finds herself pregnant and forced to work as a prostitute to pay the bills. She finally has a semi happy ending when she works out an arrangement with her son’s paternal grandparents.
3. Samantha Bond (Lady Rosamund Painswick, Series 1-Present)
A wealthy widow with no children of her own, Rosamund dotes on her nieces and frequently visits her family. She can be described as the Lady Russell of Downton Abbey. She is well meaning, especially towards Edith and her unexpected pregnancy, but in the end, her advice is more of a detriment than a help.
4. Rose Leslie (Gwen Dawson, Series 1)
Gwen represents many young women of the late Edwardian/early 20th century era. The world was changing; opportunities for young women were starting to expand beyond the traditional roles in service. Taking a typing course, Gwen becomes a secretary and leaves Downton Abbey for what is hoped to be a better life. Fans of Game of Thrones are likely to know her as Ygritte.
5. Zoe Boyle (Lavinia Swire, Series 2)
Introduced as Matthew’s fiancé at the beginning of the second series, her presence upped the ante on the will they or wont they Mary/Matthew relationship. The daughter of a middle class barrister, Lavinia seemed to be more of a match for Matthew than the aristocratic and something bitchy Mary. But in the end, she sadly succumbed, like millions at that time to the Spanish Flu, paving the way for Mary and Matthew.
6. Shirley MacLaine (Martha Levinson, Series 2-3)
Cora’s outspoken and modern mother is like many of her class and era. Not satisfied to see her daughter married to a local boy, Martha was later satisfied when her daughter married into the Crawley family and gained the title of Countess of Grantham. Standing in contrast to the Crawley matriarch, Violet, Martha is ready to welcome the modern world with open arms.
To continue this Downton Abbey talk, BBC America dropped the first trailer yesterday for original series The Last Kingdom, from Downton Abbey executive producers Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant. Check it out here: