Michelle Dockery didn’t think she’d play Lady Mary in Downton Abbey 

Michelle has played the role for 12 years

Michelle Dockery has opened up about her reaction to landing the role of Lady Mary in Downton Abbey when she was just 26, admitting that she had to sit down after "anticipating disappointment". 

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Chatting on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast, she explained: "I was 26 and got the call to audition for this role, Lady Mary in Downton Abbey. I was living with three other girls in a big house. It felt like a student house so there were four of us living in this house and I remember getting the audition and thinking this is a big one. You know, Jillian Fellows had written it, Hugh Bonneville was already attached and Maggie Smith. It felt like a big deal. 

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"And you know, at the time I was auditioning for lots of other parts and wasn't getting certain parts that I wanted at the time. And so I went into it thinking, ‘Okay, I'm just gonna give this my best shot.' I remember being really conscious of doing it and then letting it go and not hanging onto it for too long because I was anticipating disappointment."

Michelle has been playing the role for 12 years

However, of course it was all good news, and she did indeed land the iconic role. She explained: "I remember getting the call and I was in this house that I shared with my mates in my room and I remember getting a call from my agent and I had to sit down. I remember that when she told me I had to take a minute and sit down. You know, when I look back, it was life changing at that moment. We never would've dreamed it would become the phenomenon the show has become and that 12 years later I'd be sitting here and we'd still be talking about it." 

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The hugely popular franchise has recently released its film sequel A New Era, which sees the Crawleys travel to the South of France after Lady Grantham inherits a villa. Speaking about returning to the world of Downton, Michelle said: "When I say easy, it is really easy. Like I can look at my lines, just the day before sometimes and it just goes in immediately, cause I know this character so much." 

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