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Downton Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern admits series two shortcomings

Downton Abbey

Story by Jack Foley

DOWNTON Abbey‘s Elizabeth McGovern – aka Lady Cora Grantham – has admitted that the second series storyline wasn’t to her taste.

In an interview with the LA Times, the actress said she felt that the ITV period drama wasn’t fully equipped to tackle the gravity of World War I.

The sophomore season was heavily criticised in some quarters for its depiction of life in the trenches, as well as the aftermath for several of its residents.

“There is a slightly different tone to the second season,” she explained to LA Times. “It’s kind of a taste thing. And the show in the first season was more to my taste than the show in the second season.

“[We had to] deal with this huge elephant. In some ways, Downton Abbey wasn’t set up for that.

“What’s made the show successful and different is that attention to character detail and that’s what the audience likes. … Writers [in the second season] had to do a lot of glossing over the domestic life, and some of the small moments between characters that characterized the first season.”

However, McGovern has promised that the show’s forthcoming third season will return to its character-oriented roots.

The series will pick up after the war in 1920 and has been shooting in England this spring.

She also told fans to look forward to plenty more of Dame Maggie Smith, thereby scotching rumours that the veteran actress – and recent BAFTA nominee – was heading for the exit.

She added: “You’re going to see a lot of her in the third season, a real collision of worlds between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine.”

Shirley MacLaine has joined the third season as Lady Grantham’s mother – a prospect that McGovern admits fills her with anticipation.

McGovern was speaking to the LA Times while promoting her Tribeca Film Festival costume drama Cheerful Weather For The Wedding. Read the full interview

Related: Read our review of Downton Abbey’s second season finale