minee:downton

Downton confession and early christmas present from me to tumblr

(spoiler warnings for anyone who hasn’t seen season six yet)

So ….. here’s the thing. I’ve been holding out on you all.

Some of you will remember that I went to Bampton to watch the filming there when everything was drawing to a close, and I ran into the lovely @chelsiefan71 with her long suffering children who weren’t THAT sure that a day hanging around a quaint Oxfordshire village was their idea of a holiday (am I right chelsiefan….). I digress. I had the ‘Thanks for the memories’ song that some of us on here put together for them, and by a stroke of good luck and Liz Truebridge’s generosity I got to meet some of the cast. I told you at the time that I hadn’t been able to take any pictures because I was shaking so much.

Which is partly true, but what I didn’t say was that someone else did take some pictures. I didn’t share them at the time, because although I got certain members of the cast to hide behind Jim Carter, I thought it would be too obvious what they were hiding, and so decided not to share them until the plot points had been revealed. So ….. here you are:

I will confess to squealing happily in front of Joanne Froggatt when I first saw her! That’s Sophie McShera peeping out the other side of Jim Carter …. she’s hiding because ….. well, I’m not telling you. But she’s wasn’t pregnant, it’s not quite that dramatic.

Sadly Phyllis Logan was a little late to the party, so I didn’t get a photo of her. But she was there. As was everyone else (including Dr Clarkson, Rose, Atticus, Rosamund, Mrs Patmore, Violet, Robert, Cora AND …….. BERTIE!). I am 99.9% convinced they were filming Edith’s wedding, and it was a wintery scene, there was much snow about. Also given the fact they were building Matthew’s tombstone whilst I was there, I am also reasonably convinced that the Isobel/Mary scene was one they shot the day after ….

I’m sorry for not telling all of you who have been stressing out about the need for a baby Bates that there was one on the way, but a small part of me did think it might not happen until the Christmas special, so I kept silent. 

There’s another plot point I knew about from that trip, as I ran into the lovely Heather (who you’ll all remember as the first to provide us with evidence that Mrs Hughes was married) and she shared the following picture with me, and has very kindly said I could post it here.

I’ve kept silent on most posts about Mary and her many suitors because no one seemed to like Henry that much, but knowing what I did made it easier to see the development of their relationship throughout the series!

I hope you all enjoy these now you’ve seen them!

Where is Elsie Hughes now?

Arriving at Downton Abbey in 1895, Mrs Hughes’ (Phyllis Logan) first job was Head Housemaid, though she was later promoted to housekeeper. Despite going by the name Mrs Hughes, Elsie revealed that she had never been married before and chose to go by the title ‘Mrs’ as it was more fitting for a housekeeper.

In series one we see Mrs Hughes who, whilst strict, is kind-hearted and offers useful advice to other downstairs’ staff. When Mr. Bates arrives at Downton with an injured leg, Mrs Hughes takes care of him, telling him no one will think worse of him because of his handicap. An old friend, Joe Burns, arrives in town and takes Elsie for dinner and to the Fare, intent on asking for her hand in marriage a second time. Mrs Hughes soon comes to realise she is not the same girl from years’ past and refuses the proposal. By the end of series one Mrs Hughes is the first to become aware of Tom Branson’s interest in Lady Sybil, having seen them holding hands whilst in celebration of housemaid Gwen Dawson succeeding in getting a job as a secretary.

With the war in full swing during series two of Downton Abbey, Mrs Hughes finds herself busier than ever in overseeing Downton’s management and dealing with various crises such as Carson’s illness. Mrs Hughes finds Downton’s new maid Ethel in bed with patient Major Bryant, livid, she dismisses Ethel. When the girl returns she tells Mrs Hughes she is pregnant. Though she disapproves, Mrs Hughes tries her best to help Ethel by smuggling food and trying to give Bryant letters. When Cora finds out she invites Bryant’s parents to Downton. In the girl’s best interest, Elsie tries to sneak Ethel into the house to meet with Bryant’s parents though it goes terribly wrong. Ever strong, Mrs Hughes arranges for a second visit and stands up for Ethel during the meeting. When Ethel decides it is in her son’s best interest for him to stay with her, Mrs Hughes does not voice her opinion, but comforts Ethel.

Series three and Mrs Hughes is still helping Ethel and her son Charlie who have fallen on hard times. It is during this series that she finds a lump and fearing it may be cancerous, Mrs Hughes consults Dr Clarkson. Whilst distraught at the thought of her illness, Mrs Hughes only confides in Mrs Patmore. While awaiting results, she discovers Carson has figured out the cause of her stress and is irritated when he treats her like an invalid. Though she is touched when Cora tells her no matter what, she is always welcome and will have the help she deserves at Downton. Mrs Hughes is shown to have an open mind, being one of the few servants who accepts former chauffeur, Tom Branson, returning to Downton as husband to Lady Sybil.

Mrs Hughes isn’t the only one unhappy with Edna Braithwaite returning to Downton Abbey. Carson, knowing they cannot speak out, suggests they keep an eye on her, though Mrs Hughes believes Edna’s return is a disaster waiting to happen. Her fears are proven right when Edna tries to blackmail Tom into marrying her with lies she may be pregnant. Tom confides in Mrs Hughes and together they confront Edna with threats to ruin her should she not leave. When Edna does leave Downton, she remarks to Carson that they were mad to let her back into the house.

Charles Grigg returns this series, and with Carson refusing to talk to him, Mrs Hughes takes it upon herself to help the man. Mrs Hughes is also the first to become aware of Anna’s situation regarding Lord Gillingham’s valet and despite Anna swearing Mrs Hughes to secrecy, the housekeeper tries to help Anna mend her relationship with Bates, who believes he is at fault for Anna’s behaviour. When Robert announces he is leaving for America, Mrs Hughes persuades Mary to insist that Thomas must go instead of Bates as he should remain in England to be with Anna. During the Christmas special, Mrs Hughes is the one to discover the ticket in Bates’ coat and shows the ticket to Lady Mary, insisting that they have to keep it a secret and not ruin Bates. Mary destroys the tickets. During this episode the downstairs’ staff are rewarded with a day off and after some persuasion, Carson suggests a day at the beach. Whilst there, Mrs Hughes offers him her hand to steady him, and together they walk into the water.

An argument breaks out during series five with disagreements over where the war memorial should lie. After a disagreement with Mrs Hughes (who is on the side of building a stone edifice), Carson is quick to change his mind and agrees to the memorial stone. Inspired by Mrs Patmore investing in a property, Mr Carson asks Mrs Hughes if she would consider investing in a property with him. While Mrs Hughes doesn’t give a definite answer, it is clear she is interested in the proposal. Come Christmas 1924, Carson approaches Mrs Hughes with the news that he has bought a property in both their names and, after five seasons, forty-three episodes and 12 years on screen, Mr Charles Carson proposes to Mrs Elsie Hughes

Series six and with the proposal at the end of last series there is lots of talk about the wedding day, and whilst Carson wants something traditional, Mrs Hughes would rather have something informal. But how would Phyllis Logan like the series to end for her character? ‘One would hope that she and Mr Carson don’t decide that marriage was a disastrous idea… hopefully they would continue to thrive and keep their health together until they retire.’