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Julian Ovenden reflects on his role in Downton Abbey – exclusive

The historical drama “Downton Abbey” made an impression when it debuted in 2010, winning awards and accolades, critical acclaim and legions of devoted fans. Depicting the story of the upper-class Crawley family and their servants, the show follows a sprawling array of characters as they go through war, scandal, personal heartbreak, and the evolution of social norms in the early twentieth century. This included the frequent loves and losses of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), the eldest Crawley daughter, who proved over the course of the show that she was not the spoiled aristocrat many expected. One of the characters Mary initially underestimates is the dashing Charles Blake, who appears in seasons 4 and 5 of the series and is played by veteran singer and actor Julian Ovenden.

Mary and Blake can’t stand each other at first, but the pair begin to respect each other when, in a memorable scene, Mary jumps in to help after Blake realizes the pigs the Crawleys just bought are suffering from dehydration. While Blake eventually falls for Mary and expresses his interest, he ends up not getting the girl. Nevertheless, Ovenden makes a remarkable impression in the episodes in which he appears. In a conversation with The List, Ovenden reminisces about his time in ‘Downton Abbey’.

Ovenden knew he was ‘in good hands’ at Downton Abbey

Although Julian Ovenden remembers having enjoyed working on the show, the large cast made it difficult for him to judge whether his character stood out. “When we shot it – it seems like a long time ago now – but the way it’s shot is so small and because there are so many characters, you only have a day here and there,” he explained. “I never really knew if I had any impact. I felt a little frustrated that I couldn’t move on to the next [season]because then [Lady Mary] was carried away by Matthew Goode [who played Mary’s eventual husband, Henry Talbot] in season 6.”

Of course, by the time Ovenden joined the cast of “Downton Abbey,” it was a long-lasting hit, which left him feeling confident in the character and storyline written for him.

“It’s beautiful [to join a popular show] – very nice, because it’s a nice group of people, but it’s also nice to be in something with a built-in audience that is well followed,’ he thought. “There is so much television now. Half of the things we do as actors are buried under 27 pages of Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever it is… It’s kinda hard to even find a show right now – you need to have a degree and a big bank balance . You have to subscribe to all sorts of things in order to locate and find things. It was one of the most watched shows at the time, and when you experience something like that, it gives a great sense of satisfaction to know that you were in good hands.”

You can see Julian Ovenden in “The Lost Girls”, which is currently playing in theaters and on demand.

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