Saturday, May 25, 2024

“Downton Abbey” Exclusive: Show Creator Julian Fellowes on Actor Dan Stevens (Matthew)


Sunday night in Britain: “Downton Abbey” returned for Season 4 with a huge 9.5 rating, up almost a million viewers from the UK season premiere. The show picks up six months after the death of Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens. Viewers no doubt were curious to see what happened to Lady Mary and her baby. “Downton Abbey” season 4 doesn’t start in the US until January 5th.

Last night at the Emmys I talked to my old pal Julian Fellowes, the brilliant mastermind behind “Downton.” You know, the seeds of “DA” were in his Robert Altman film, “Gosford Park,” which every “Abbey” fan should rent or buy to see how all this started.

Fellowes was not pleased when Dan Stevens decided not to return as Matthew after three seasons. “We begged him to stay one more week, and film the Christmas episode. We could have a happy ending for Matthew and Mary. Then we would have started season  with his death. But refused. To come back for a week!”

Despite killing Stevens’ Matthew off most graphically last year, Fellowes still wishes him well. Still: “I really think if he’d waited one more season, he would have left with a bigger following.”


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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