As Downton ends, we look at its best characters

As the end of ITV’s Downton Abbey is announced and the hashtag #ThrowbackDownton takes over twitter, we reminisce with a selection of our favourite Downton characters


The makers of Downton Abbey have announced that the next season of ITV’s acclaimed period drama will be its last.

With a concluding Christmas special on Christmas Day this year, the nine-episode sixth series will bring to an end the hugely successful show – created by Julian Fellowes – which, among its many accolades, counts two Baftas, three Golden Globes and 11 Primetime Emmys.

Its success both at home and abroad was recently demonstrated when the Duchess of Cambridge went to see it being filmed at Ealing Studios in west London.

Stars of the programme include Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith as members of the Crawley family, residing in Downton Abbey – actually Highclere Castle in Hampshire – with high profile guest stars such as Shirley MacLaine and Richard E Grant.

So as we prepare to bid farewell to the show’s beloved characters, we round up a few of our favourites from across the seasons…

 Our favourite characters

Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham (left) with Shirley Maclaine as Martha Levinson (right). Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

The snooty but endlessly witty Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by national treasure Maggie Smith, tops most people’s favourite Downton character lists. Favourite moments include her astonishment and disapproval upon discovering the ‘swivel’ chair and one-liners such as “don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.” 

Lady Sybil Crawley. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Lady Sybil Crawley

The immensely popular and beautiful Lady Sybil tragically died in childbirth in series three but before her tragic demise, managed to charm a whole legion of fans with her opinionated, spirited and caring personality.

Downton Abbey Series 5
Lady Edith Crawley. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Lady Edith Crawley

Though the writers of Downton Abbey have been somewhat unkind to Lady Edith, depicting her as a sore loser living in Mary’s shadow, we sympathise with her slightly hapless circumstance and see the good and the heart within.

Lady Mary Crawley. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Lady Mary Crawley

Lady Mary is loved for her chic and demeanour. As well as for being incredibly resilient, particularly proven following the death of her husband Matthew Crawley, so is easy to admire and a firm Downton favourite.

Downton Abbey Series 5
Thomas Barrow. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Thomas Barrow

Perhaps an unlikely choice, the plotting underbutler Thomas Barrow spends a lot of his time on Downton manipulating and sabotaging. However, not only is he infinitely interesting, he is also hiding a great deal of inner turmoil and depth, and we believe he’s a nice guy deep down.

Downton Abbey Series 5
Charles Carson. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Charles Carson

The sturdy, reliable character of Charles Carson is almost impossible not to like. He has a close relationship with the Dowager Countess and loves Lady Mary Crawley almost as a surrogate daughter. His loyalty, inherent goodness and the caring way he dotes on Lady Mary make him an irresistible choice as a favourite.

John and Anna Bates. Image credit: Carnival Film & Television Ltd

John Bates

Another inherently kind and moral man, John Bates has slowly managed to gain the unwavering respect of all the Downton staff despite them treating him somewhat unkindly upon his arrival due to the fact he used a wooden cane. And he’s certainly won our respect too.

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