Jim Carter Opens Up About “Downton Abbey” and His Time as Mr. Carson



Downton Abbey - Behind the Scenes

As Mr. Carson, the buttoned-down, curmudgeonly yet often amusing head butler for the Crawley’s, “Downton Abbey,” actor Jim Carter has garnered a whole new level of popularity and audience recognition. “For all of us, it’s changed things… ‘Downton’ is indescribably huge – it’s a phenomenon,” noted Carter in a recent interview with Here & Now.

While the strong performances, immense imagery, glorious drama, succinct comedy and intriguing character interplay on “Downton Abbey” would lead many to assume that the series was destined to become “a phenomenon,” Carter explains that he had no idea its appeal would grow so large.

“Not at all! [It’s] a costume drama and I’ve done a fair few: ‘The Madness of King George’ and others on TV. You hope that people will enjoy [your show] and you hope that it’ll be good, but we couldn’t have legislated for the fact that it’s taken off like this,” explained Carter. “[‘Downton Abbey’] is sold in 225 territories around the world. Did you know there were 225 territories in the world? It’s a global thing, so it’s odd.”

Of playing Mr. Carson, Carter notes that his favourite part of the role has been the scenes he’s shared with the Mrs. Hughes character.

Downton Abbey S1: Mr. Carson (JIM CARTER), Mrs. Hughes (PHYLLIS LOGAN), Sarah O'Brien (SIOBHANN FINNERAN)   DowntonAbbey_S5E2_31591_CarsonWireless_600

“Mr. Carson, the old curmudgeon that he is, stuffed shirt that he is, does have a heart in there somewhere,” relayed Carter. “And that comes out with Mrs. Hughes, so that’s my favourite thing, really. And, it’s nice when you can sneak a little humour in there as well – like Mr. Carson dealing with the telephone and modern life. Modern life and he don’t get along.”

Elsewhere in the Here & Now interview, Carter was asked whether or not he’s worried about now forever being known as Mr. Carson, despite the fact that he has a long list of onscreen credits. As it turns out, the veteran actor doesn’t seem all that concerned.

“That’s a possibility,” figured Carter. “History will prove whether that’s right or not. At this stage of my career, that doesn’t worry me so much. If I was 40, I’d think, ‘do I want to be Mr. Carson for the rest of my life?’ But, I think memories fade and I’m delighted to have been in something that’s brought so much pleasure to people. I mean, you really see it on people’s faces how much they enjoy [‘Downton Abbey.’]”

Tune in to VisionTV Wednesday nights (10pm ET/7pm PT), for encore presentations of the fourth and fifth seasons of “Downton Abbey.” On Wednesday, June 29, the sixth season of “Downton Abbey” kicks off on VisionTV! Tune in at 9pm ET/6pm PT and get ready for greatness!

Between episodes, grab yourself some chuckles with The Dowager’s 20 Greatest “Downton Abbey” Quips. After that, test your knowledge on our Ultimate “Downton Abbey” Trivia Challenge!

-Adam Grant

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