Skip to main content

Downton's Michelle Dockery: 'Taking off her hat was a major event in Lady Mary’s day!'

In tonight’s opening episode of the new series of Downton Abbey Lady Mary’s comment about going upstairs to take off her hat raised a few eyebrows.

Now What’s on TV (opens in new tab) can now reveal there’s more to the comment…

When asked about the phrasing Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey (opens in new tab), explained the mystery behind the remark.

“In order to take her hat off Lady Mary also had to have her hair restyled. That’s why she had to go all the way upstairs. Taking her hat off was a major event in the day for Mary!”

Fortunately for Michelle, she gets to do a few more exciting things than wear hats as the series develops.

“The most challenging thing I had to do this year is side-saddle riding for a later episode. I had about five weeks of training, learning to canter very fast. I was a bit achy afterwards but I did all right – I stayed on all the time!”

Michelle also sheds light on why Mary hasn’t yet fully made up her mind about suitors Charles Blake and Lord Gillingham.

“I don’t think it would be right for the audience if Mary suddenly got married at the start of series five. It’s not very interesting. It’s more interesting when it’s complicated – or she makes a decision and changes her mind!

“Downton’s creator Julian Fellowes surprises the audience all the time and keeps it alive. I love seeing it unfold – it’s never how I think it’s going to be!”

The second episode of Downton airs on ITV next Sunday when Richard E. Grant (opens in new tab) joins the cast as charming art historian Simon Bricker and he instantly takes a shine to Lady Cora…


Elaine Reilly
Elaine Reilly

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.


As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 

After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.