Michelle Dockery helped Hugh Dancy ‘navigate’ joining Downton to avoid being an ‘outsider’


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Hugh Dancy has claimed his Downton Abbey co-star Michelle Dockery took him under her wing when he joined the show for the new film, Downton Abbey: A New Era. The David Copperfield actor said he thought the cast loved having “fresh blood”. 

“Michelle helped me navigate everything,” said 46-year-old Hugh, who plays film director Jack Barber. 

He also revealed that he is one of the only Brits who hasn’t watched an episode of Downton. 

Hugh has two children with his wife, Homeland co-star Claire Danes, meaning he doesn’t have a lot of spare time. 

“I’ve got 4,000 TV shows backed up in the library ready to watch, so I’ve only seen snippets of Downton,” he said. 

“I was reading the script and about three times per page I’d have to dip into the fan pages online and look up Mr Carson or whatever and get the entire back story. It took me four hours to read the script that way!” he added to the Radio Times. 

Michelle, who plays Lady Mary Crawley, flirts with Hugh’s character Jack in the upcoming film, despite being married to Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode). 

In the latest behind-the-scenes YouTube episode for the new movie, Michelle teased what was in store for her character.

The Downton Abbey star said: “Mary has come into her own and is really running the house and she’s a businesswoman. What’s interesting is that Mary and Violet sort of have this parallel story.”

Matthew has insisted he isn’t in the film, because he has been busy filming The Offer, a drama about the making of The Godfather.

Back in 2020, Hugh joked that he was “glad” his wife Claire, who appeared in Romeo + Juliet opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, had a disappointing one night stand before she met him. 

“I can only say that I’m really glad my wife chose to have a one-night stand with an inadequate lover,” he joked. 

“It was kind of in the moment [when] she was single, I was single, and we were both clearly thinking about it.

“She was also thinking, I suppose, as one often does, ‘Well, do I want to jump back into another relationship?’ 

“She had just come out of one.”

Claire revealed on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Podcast that after she had her “palette cleansed” by the fling.

She says she realised “Oh s***, I think I’m going to marry this person,” when she met Hugh. 


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