Downton Abbey EP Talks 'High-Stakes' Season 5, Mary's Long Road to the Altar

Downton Abbey Season 5

“Things are changing” at Downton Abbey, according to the fifth season’s first promo, a sentiment executive producer Gareth Neame echoes to TVLine.

RELATED TVLine Items: A Walking Dead Actress Joins Downton Abbey

“In the new season, we have the high-stakes drama, the laugh-out-loud comedy and the romance,” Neame promises. “We have all of the characters doing the things people love to see them doing, but we have a few really nice twists and turns as well.”

Below, Neame teases more of what we can expect in Season 5 — which premieres Jan. 4 on PBS — including the effects of Anna’s rape, Mary’s further romantic struggles and a storyline he calls “Downton at its best.”

TVLINE | One of the biggest twists last season, which many thought to be a major departure from what we’re used to, was Anna’s rape.
Well, I question whether it was a huge departure for what we normally do. Three episodes previous to that, Matthew Crawley was holding his newborn son in his arms, then one minute later was dead on the side of the street. Or when Mary loses her virginity to Mr. Pamuk, and then he croaks. Or when Cora is pregnant and there’s going to be a new heir — until she steps out of the bathtub and slips, then loses the baby. People get relaxed into the gentle aspect of the show and forget that we’ve always had these moments.

TVLINE | Well, it was certainly difficult to watch her go through that. Will she and Bates still be dealing with the aftershocks in Season 5?
I think it would be a bit soft of us to say that [they won't]. There are certain stories on this kind of show that you pick up for a few episodes, then let fall away. This doesn’t seem like something that could happen to a character and be easily forgotten.

Downton Abbey Season 5TVLINE | Can you say anything about the Dowager Countess’ storyline this season? We hear it’s bigger than normal.
She has a brilliant storyline this season. … It’s Downton at its best, this storyline. It’s fantastic.

TVLINE | Does it involve new characters, or is it more contained within the house?
I can’t answer that specifically, but every episode, we’ll be having some guest; people come in and out. The show is always a melting pot of the regular characters in addition to guests.

TVLINE | Some of those guests being suitors for Lady Mary. What can you say about what she’s going through in Season 5?
When Dan Stevens decided to leave the show — and we tried very hard to keep him — we thought, “Well, OK, let’s get on with it.” That door was closed. And we suddenly thought, “Actually, this is the best thing that could have happened to us.” I’m actually really, really glad it happened. It gave us such a new direction to travel in for the show. Everyone wants Mary to be happy and for her to marry again, but nobody would want that to happen too quickly because they want to respect the memory of Matthew. It’s about timing all those things correctly, and I really like the way we juggled two, maybe even three, suitors in the last season. She’s still not quite sure, and I think there’s a good hook for the audience in the fifth season to see which decision she’s going to make.

Downton Abbey Season 5TVLINE | I’ve got to say, I’m Team Tony.
He certainly seems to have the upper hand, but there are other people who prefer Charles, so we’ll see. … I think it would have been awful if, three episodes after Matthew’s death, she went straight back into the saddle, so to speak. That wouldn’t have landed well for us.

TVLINE | Historically speaking, how will the events of the outside world affect life at Downton this year?
We start off with the first-ever socialist government being elected into power in 1924, which as you can imagine, is like “Goodnight, Vienna” to [the Crawleys]. That first socialist government only lasted for a year, but it was saying that this was the direction of travel, and that the autocracy was not going to last. … We are at the end of an era, but I hope that doesn’t mean that at the end of the last season, the whole place will have burnt to the ground. Part of [the series' eventual ending] will also be about saying, particularly to the British audience, that those houses still exist. They’re around you, and those people may have lived there 100 years ago, but they’re very like you.

TVLINE | Do you have an end in sight? And regardless of how you get there, do you have an ideal conclusion?
In whatever the storylines end up being, I think people will want some sort of resolution. I’d like there to be some sort of message where you get to the end of it all and you say, “Oh, I see. So Anna Bates is my grandma.” I don’t know how we’ll do this, but I’ve always loved the ending of Schindler’s List when they cut to the piece in color, and they’re all putting the stone on the monument. I loved the way that connected the Second World War, which none of us lived through, to people who were still alive today. I’d love to somehow deliver that message.

Downton Abbey Season 5TVLINE | Lastly, when are Carson and Mrs. Hughes going to get together? And was there always a plan for them?
I don’t know what Julian [Fellowes] would answer to that, but I think it has more to do with the chemistry we saw between Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan. I saw them as sort of a husband and wife very early on. Downton is about romantic love and companionship, and in that sense, they are one of the Downton relationships, even if they’re not married. Obviously that was a lovely tease at the end of last season, so we’ll see what happens to them.

Downton fans, who’s your suitor of choice for Mary? And what else do you hope to see in Season 5? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

154 Comments
  1. kate says:

    I really like this show, but am I the only one who feels like they’re jumping through time too fast? didn’t the first season start in 1912 or 1913, and now at the start of season 5, it’s 1924? it just feels like everyone is still too young for it to be 12 years later.

    • Andy Swift says:

      Time is moving quickly, I agree. (That said, everybody still looks great!)

      • Jake says:

        They have to move the story line along, after all they only have so many episodes and so much time to tell them. I think it is paced rather nicely. I am chuffed to bits. So sit down, quit wandering off with the fairies and enjoy the show before you head up the wooden hill to bedfordshire.

    • rawley says:

      Yeah, you may be the only one. A decade isn’t that fast to move in five seasons.

  2. I am TOTALLY Team Tony! If I were writing this show, they would definitely get together. Also, I am a huge fan of the Carson/Mrs. Hughes arc. I’d love to see where they’re going to take their relationship after that lovely little tease at the end of season 5. I’ve always thought they were like an old married couple even though it was in name only.

  3. Dani says:

    Forget Tony and Charles. I’m still here for Mary being with Tom. So much chemistry between those two.

    • Andy Swift says:

      I’ve flirted with that idea myself, but it might be a little much. I also love Mary and Tom’s friendship.

    • Isobel says:

      Hm I like them as friends, marrying her late sisters husband is a bit weird for me

    • S. says:

      Ew the actors are really against it and I don’t see romantic chemistry there, just family bonding. They’re not gonna go there, so there’s no point in investing in that pairing. I just want Tom to stay and not hook up with Sarah Bunting. She’s trouble. After his comments about another Earl’s daughter not wanting to take him on, maybe it would be nice if one showed up.

      • Joey says:

        Agree, the school teacher has no chemistry with Tom, and I am over him feeling ashamed or worried of him worrying what others think of him

      • Janet Wilkey says:

        I agree I don’t want Tom to be with the Sarah Bunting teacher, he is above her and I’d hate to see him lower himself.

    • Bebe Herring says:

      I most definitely agree. Have always thought Tom like Mary, very careful, in the relationship department

  4. RZ says:

    No questions about Lady Edith? I see her as the most interesting character but it seems as if the show runners see her as a punching bag.

    • Andy Swift says:

      I do find her to be interesting, but there wasn’t time. I’m also interested in Jack/Rose’s future. There will be time for that later.

    • S. says:

      They do that on purpose. She’s seen as an unlucky character by Fellowes because there always seems to be people who are unlucky all the time. Things are constantly going wrong for them. He wanted to show that even in a rich family like that, there are black sheep. It might not happen forever. Edith is stepping up for herself and maybe that’s the answer to her happiness.

      • RZ says:

        I get that but it’s taken on ridiculous proportions at this point, especially as she’s been so close to happiness on several occasions but the family interfered (in the case of Sir Anthony – on two occasions!) or bad luck intervened. Mr. Mosby had been the hard luck case but the tide seems to be turning for him. I hope the writers can do the same for Edith.

    • E P Burke says:

      I loved her story line with Michael – how wonderfully 1920’s! But also, I thought one of the most moving scenes Laura has delivered (and one of the most cinematographically brilliant with the girls bounding over the sand dunes) was the scene with Drewe. Most people, I suspect don’t realize it, but neither Mary nor Sybil’s character would have been as well-formed had it not been for dialogue with Laura.

    • Annie says:

      I also like Lady Edith…and also her editor…. is he coming back? I hope so…and the baby what is happening there? I hope we get a good resolution for Edith, i fnot her editor a gentleman of worth …

  5. Daphne says:

    The URL is “5-spoilers-mary-tony-wedding” but I see no mention of a wedding in the post.

  6. I’m definitely Team Charles.

    • S. says:

      Ditto. Team Charles all the way. He’s more like Matthew. That’s clearly her type. She likes to argue and be challenged. As he said after they tried to find the letter, he believes in the future and thinks she can too. If anybody signifies her moving forward, it’s Charles. Tony never challenges her, he’d give her everything she wanted to the point that she’d eventually get bored even if she had affection for him. It’s probably the kind of love she expected to have with whoever she was trying to marry before Matthew became her love interest (and even after when she thought he was with Lavinia). Tony’s family wasn’t able to hold onto his estate without leasing the house out. Charles is an outsider with one foot in the aristocracy. So was Matthew by virtue of becoming the heir to Downton. Let’s not forget how good Charles is with kids! ;) Tony and Napier would respectfully keep George at arms length which Matthew wouldn’t have done. I’d love to know how Charles was raised to end up as he has. He might not be able to hold onto the Ulster estate with the legal changes in 1925 where entailing no longer exists. Could once again reflect the ‘maybe not a rich heir’ angle of Matthew in S1.

  7. Luke says:

    I 100% Team Charles, I think he brings the best in Mary, and will continue to do so, though I wouldn’t be completely opposed to her and Tom; also they haven’t moved all that fat through time, they only moved slightly fast through World War I but they have slowed down in the 1920s; and I don’t think they are in a rush to enter the 1930s since the Great Depression will change everything;

  8. gayle says:

    Team Charles here. But I am afraid we will be stuck with the wispy washy Tony….it’s ok, I will fast forward threw his scenes.

  9. Foshi says:

    TONY! TONY! TONY!

  10. Dubious says:

    Tony is just a much better choice

  11. Kristin says:

    I’m team Tom Branson. Theyhave insane chemistry and a whole
    Lot of built in angst.

    • Deborah says:

      I agree Tom and Lady Mary do have ton of chemistry!! But my first choice Is Tony Lord Gillingham. Tom would be my 2nd choice. I don’t want to see lady Mary with Charles. I just don’t like Charles Blake!

  12. SAM says:

    “…Dowager Countess’ storyline this season? We hear it’s bigger than normal.”

    I read that and immediately thought that she is going to die this season!

    • Luke says:

      bite your tongue; without her there wouldn’t be a Downton Abbey; I can’t even think of something like that; reminds me of the scare I had last season when she got sick;

    • S. says:

      Fellowes already said he won’t kill her off. It’s public knowledge so I hope this doesn’t count as a spoiler. If Maggie wants to work on the show, she stays on the show. If she doesn’t, Violet goes to the seaside or something.

  13. Kristie says:

    Team Charles here!!!!

  14. LABete says:

    I hope Downton slows down a little and does more character development and slice of life scenes like it did in the first season. Right now it is heavily weighted toward quick-cut scenes of people walking and talking with hardly a second for reaction. Plus, I am team-no-one. I wish they would bring in a tall, good-looking Matthew type, like a Rupert Penry-Jones, to sweep Mary off her feet. I think that she has known these suitors long enough to know that she isn’t ever going to fall for any of them.

    • S. says:

      Are you serious? She has known these suitors but she only just considered herself back on the market in the last episode. When Charles asked “Let battle commence?” and she repeated it back as a statement, it’s basically ‘ok it’s open season on courting now.’ She wasn’t willing to date anybody before so they’re only just beginning. They’re not old hat by any means.

      • LABete says:

        Believe me, when you meet “The One,” you know it, no matter what your circumstances. Mary has known 2 of her suitors for her whole life and the 3rd for a considerable amount of time. Setting up a competition for her as the prize reeks of “settling” and is a slap in the face to true love.

    • NJJoany says:

      Funny, Rupert Penry-Jones came to my mind, too. I love Julian Ovenden & thought the only one that would be a satisfactory replacement if Charles didn’t work out was RP-J. All of you should remember him from Spooks/ MI-5 but if you have any doubts catch him as the dashing Sea Captain in Jane Austin’s “Persuasion”. Tall, well-built, blonde & handsome as hell! Currently in Silk so probably not available but it did cross my mind.

      • Annie says:

        NJJoany – totally agree as to Rupert Penry-Jones (also in the 39 steps) and yes I remember him from Spooks big time. Also Julian Ovedan as the pilot son of Foyle in Foyle’s War. Delicious – both father and son. I am also not keen on the school teacher interaction…with Tom – he has to become more easy in his position…and the person who comes into his life will be the mother of his child…perhaps the daughter or granddaughter of one of the family friends as in Maggie Smith’s school friend. who will be appearing in this series. A terrific actress also…Not just someone he met in the village. And is it too soon in any event? I think so.

  15. Linda McKeough says:

    Team Charles here. He seems to bring out a side of her, we only glimpsed with Matthew. He’s his own man,not dependent on Mary’s finances. Tony just seems so fickle, almost engaged, yes Mable, no Mable, now Mary, c’mon?

  16. Lena says:

    Team Blake. Tony is a stalker. Love this show.

    • S. says:

      Ha. He IS a total stalker. Saying he wouldn’t give up til she walked down the aisle with another man and maybe not even then. He seems sweet enough, but c’mon a man with some strength is what she needs. Charles is a partner. Tony is a doormat. A cute, sweet, stalkery doormat.

  17. Jay says:

    Ugh…Tony? Really? No thank you. Much prefer Charles Blake. And I’d love to see Daisy take over the farm.

    • Scott says:

      Yes. Daisy needs a storyline. I really like her with Mrs. Patmore, but her being the farmer at the Mason farm would be great too.

  18. Debbie says:

    I don’t really follow the lives upstairs as closely as downstairs because I honestly do not like them as much. As for Mary, whomever she chooses is fine. I see the choice of husband as always being second best for her but she will adapt, she is a survivor and an elitist who will land on her feet. I think she loved Matthew as best she could, but extreme affluence and luxury, having servants, social status, power, a feeling of superiority and galas are what she loves most Gillingham’s quick confession of love, his obsession with Mary and his hiring and keeping on a man like Green when good valets like Molesley said it was hard for valets to get jobs makes me suspicious of him. All I really want is to see the Bateses happy and starting a family. Theirs is my favorite love story.

  19. Laura says:

    I adore Charles Blake. He is an intellectual match for Mary, whereas Tony comes across as needy and borderline creepy in my personal opinion. I also see no true storyline potential for Mary with Tony, but watching her and Charles try to manage two estates could be very interesting. I would love to see more Isobel/Violet interactions, and I always adore watching Carson and Hughes. I also hope we see Elizabeth McGovern in a real storyline this year. She was brilliant during the scenes during and after Sybil’s death and should be utilized more.

    • E P Burke says:

      I really like Elizabeth McGovern’s acting as well. I thought one of the most brilliant scenes was when Robert nearly lost the Estate. It was brilliant writing, granted, but I believed her when she sympathized with Robert. That was true strength.

    • Regine says:

      Blake an intellectual? You have to be kidding me! Since I am an intellectual I can only tell you that an intellectual is the last thing Blake is. He has a government job, that’s it.

      • Bruce H. says:

        Regine, come on now. First of all, an intellectual never admits it. They let the veracity of their statements speak on their behalf. And lastly, would you say that someone wasn’t intellectual, whose job it was to travel around the countryside determining the economic viability of the great estates; and whose sole duty it was to either shut them down or suggest to them sweeping changes in order for them to survive? I would think that it would take a person of incredible intelligence to master all of those skills. And remember, he IS Evelyn Napier’s boss, is he not? 8-D

  20. ruby says:

    Team Charles!! He brings so much to Mary! she laughs with him! they have an amazing chemistry! Tony is boring and i agree, a bit stalker in my opinion! Cannot wait for the new season!

  21. She will never be happy with anyone else but Matthew as long as she walks the earth because she is his Mary throughout eternity. She will remain single and devote her life to George. It’s Edith who will marry.

    • S. says:

      Meh, Tom said that neither would be happy with anyone else as long as the other person walked the Earth. Matthew’s dead so that means she theoretically can let go enough to find love again. She thought as much at the end of S4. Mourning Matthew doesn’t have to mean being alone and she came to that realization.

      • I still predict that since Downton Abbey is nothing but a feminist soap opera without the benign moral compass that was Matthew Crawley, Mary will finally decide that she doesn’t need to settle for a lesser man than Matthew to help her raise George.

  22. Dave says:

    Mary, I have two words for you concerning Tony Gillingham: Restraining Order.

  23. Katie says:

    I cannot understand what is attractive about a man who tells a grieving woman her husband is dead but he is alive, asks if he can kiss her when she is crying over said husband, and proposes every time he sees her even when there is another woman in the picture.

    I prefer a man for Mary who sees her as an equal, takes an interest in her son, makes her laugh, and fights for her without backing her into a corner. Wait…that sounds a lot like Charles Blake, doesn’t it.

  24. animegirl31 says:

    I’m really excited, I didn’t know how I would feel after Mathew died and wasn’t sure of the direction the show would take, but I think they are doing wonderfully. I’m actually very fond of the relationship Mary and Tom are developing as friends since they are basically raising their one-parent-short kids together and working to see Mathew’s plans pan out. I like that Mary didn’t regress to her mean girl persona without Mathew. That being said, totes hated Sara B-whatever, the teacher that flirted with Tom last season. She annoyed me SO much.

    And poor Edith! I want her to be happy already!!!!!

    And I’m Team Dowager Countess FOREVER

  25. S says:

    Unequivocably Team Charles Blake. Not a doubt in my mind.

  26. Sandra says:

    For us, Edith’s story line is LEAST interesting. The actress who plays her is boring. I hope we get to see Edith snatch Mr. Drewe from his wife as Edith has a history of being desperate to have a man. Lady Mary is the MOST interesting and BEST character on the show, thanks to the acting prowess of Michelle Dockery. It’s time she wins the EMMY this year.

  27. S. says:

    I had to go back and see who interviewed Gareth and said they were Team Tony. Andy, c’mon now. TVLine usually matches up with my shipping. You guys already are supportive of my Mindy/Danny love from The Mindy Project. Keep the streak alive. ;) Blake’s the one.

  28. Nina says:

    Seriously, I looked up “Downton Abbey Season 5″ and you literally put a spoiler in the headline that showed up in the search results. I am SO annoyed – not cool, not cool at all.

  29. RB says:

    What about Evelyn Napier? Julian Fellowes should show his hidden depths of character and Lady Mary’s surprised rediscovery of him. That is more equivalent to the Matthew/Mary trajectory. The Charles Blake “challenging banter” seems contrived. Tony Gillingham at least has passion and he’s been more honest than Charles.

    • Sairy says:

      But Napier is just a boring person. What would Mary do with a bore? Having said that, Blake’s dishonesty rubs me the wrong way – but Tony is altogether too much of a gentleman for telling Mary the truth.

    • Regine says:

      Evelyn Napier is the best choice; alas, I have the feeling JF is wasting the opportunity to have a great love story and settling for less. I just wrote a post about it, but it is at the end and appears twice because I had to edit it. I don’t know how to edit/delete posts here.

  30. Chanelgal says:

    Team Napier….the other 2 are just opportunists .
    Definitely not that horrible Blake..please.

  31. Cat says:

    First of all, I think this show is brilliant. Cast, writers, producers, costume designers…everyone.

    Secondly, Edith’s decision to take her daughter from the family that adopted her in good faith was selfish. I didn’t have much respect for her before, but now I have none. I know it was done for drama’s sake, but adoption should not be taken so lightly.

    Anna deserves some happiness. Not convinced Bates killed Greene–so obvious, although very logical. Would be more interesting if Tony was a psychotic killer who knocked of his valet because Mary asked him to get rid of him. He’s creepy enough for that.

    Team Blake 100%. I like him even better than Matthew because he’s not intimidated by Mary’s fire. Mary and Blake are a meeting of equals, and they can give each other as good as they get. They thrill me.

    Finally, the more Dowager, the better.

  32. KD says:

    Anna will be pregnant.
    If true, please don’t change it..Mary will marry Tom ( the younger daughters widower) i hope.
    The rest is icing ~

  33. Chuck says:

    My concern is with Edith. Having lived through the 30’s I think that her lovers involvement in Munich with what could possibly be Hitler’s brown shirts is intriguing but out of the timeline. I would like to see him come back, Edith deserves the happiness. As for Mary, I think that Tony is a very good match but I feel that Charles is best for her happiness. Their interaction will be good for the show. Without Maggie Smith the show would lose a character that it surely must have to keep Mrs. Crawley active. My wife and I have watched the show, every episode, all 4 years 5 times complete and have started the 6th time with season 1 again, cannot get enough. When will the 5th season be available in the USA for sale?

  34. Bebe Herring says:

    i really wanted Lady Mary to get together with her sister’s widower Tom Branson.

  35. Nikki says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else like a Rose/Tom romance??

  36. Mayra says:

    Can’t wait for #5. Quick thoughts: Totally Team Charles. Edith should be an independent single woman and a renowned journalist; yes with her baby girl. Hope Sarah is long gone; not good for Tom. Tom, well he’s certainly a charmer and can see him with Edith. Anna and Bates should have a baby and no more suffering; PLEASE! Darling Daisy should inherit the farm and become a businesswoman running the farm and having Downton as her clients for her produces and dairy products. Would like to see Rose’s wedding. Those are my thoughts. Ah, one last thing: must be broadcast at the same time than in UK.

  37. John Gibson says:

    Didn’t understand the uproar over the Anna’s rape episode. Still don’t understand it. It’s a drama, for Pete’s sake, not a documentary.

  38. Susanna says:

    Tony is the right guy for Mary. He is honest with her and kind. He understands Mary and they would be a great family. Mary would have two titles and I believe would be happiest with Tony.

  39. Deborah says:

    Lord Tony Gillingham and Lady Mary are perfect together. He is so tall dark and handsome very sexy!! <3

  40. Kim says:

    Team Tony….but not too soon; we’re still mourning Matthew. More Cora, a new romantic interest for Tom (and please not the judgmental teacher), less Edith and Rose. Love, love, love the show!

  41. Leona Busse says:

    For Tony G

  42. Liane Townsend says:

    I wish they would have not skipped forward in years. I wish the show would be weekly and year round. :) I do not want it to end, ever. lol I love Tony for Mary. I love E Napier and wish he would have more air time on the show, love his accent. OK, have to stop now before I go on and on about the show. :)

  43. I am definitely Team Blake (Charles). He seems to be more intelligent than Tony Gillingham and Mary is definitely SMARTER than Tony. Also Mary and Charles strike sparks off each other. Finally, they compliment each other.

  44. Susan Dreger-Epps says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if Julian Fellowes has another man up his sleeve for Mary…one we’ve not yet met. One who would have a similar passion for the history and aristocratic way of life that means so much to Mary & her father.

  45. Manya Greif says:

    Sue Johnston is from WAKING the Dead, NOT The Walking Dead!

  46. Shirley says:

    I think Mary will end up with Evelyn Napier. He is honest, trustworthy, and he has loved her from the beginning. My prediction is that we will see a new, non boring side of Evelyn this coming season.

  47. Nancy says:

    I don’t see Mary with either of the suitors. I hope they bring in a new guy for her. When she first met Matthew the chemistry was sort of there but really developed over time. I loved that. I don’t see any chemistry with either Tony or Charles not even a little. I do hope they bring in maybe an American for her after all her mother is American and married a Brit.

  48. mISSY says:

    Team Charles all the way.
    Can Julian Ovenden also sing at some point in the series.

  49. jodi says:

    Why was Lady Sibel taken off the show (killed off)? I know Matthew was killed off because the actor playing him didn’t want to come back another season.

  50. Paddy Shea says:

    I’d love to see Tom Branson and/or Thomas naked!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,656 other followers