Interview with Mrs. Patmore of Downton Abbey

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Actress Lesley Nicol – Photo by Jill Weinlein

Yesterday when I entered the Shrine Exposition Theatre for a preview of the Screen Actors Guild gala awards ceremony, I noticed the talented actress Lesley Nicol. She plays the adorable, no-nonsense cook whipping up elegant dishes for the aristocratic Crawley family. Mrs. Patmore rules the kitchen staff and has a motherly relationship with her kitchen helper, Daisy.

Usually in a frumpy servant outfit on the show, Lesley was a striking “lady in red” with her coiffed strawberry blonde hair. She offered me a friendly and beautiful smile as we were introduced before our interview.

Here are 10 tidbits I learned about one of my favorite characters in the #1 PBS Drama Series – Downton Abbey:

  1. She wanted to be a nurse or flight attendant as a little girl, because she liked the uniforms.
  2. She was very shy as a little girl. After appearing on stage in a show, she said the experience gave her power and she was hooked.
  3. Her first play was a 12-year-old boy in ‘Androcles and the Lion.’
  4. She graduated from the London’s Guildhall School of Drama in the 1970s.
  5. While filming the last episode of Downton Abbey, Lesley told me, “The cast and crew were giddy like school children can get on the last day of school.” She shared with me that when Jim Carter who plays the butler Mr. Carson started getting choked up during his last scene, she did too. She said “Two big crew members went into the corner and sobbed when ‘It’s a Wrap’ was announced. It was a very emotional day.”
  6. She is the voice of a fairy godmother in a Disney Television animation – Goldie and Bear

    Writer with one of her favorite Downton Abbey characters
    Writer with one of her favorite Downton Abbey characters
  7. Lesley now lives in Los Angeles.
  8. She also appeared as Rosie in the West End production of Mamma Mia!
  9. Years ago, she was the face of Tetley tea in the United Kingdom.
  10. Lesley is a celebrity ambassador for her charity AnimalsAsia. This organization has rescued 500 bears and cares for them in sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. They also educate and work to end the trade in dogs and cats for food in China and Vietnam. AnimalsAsia lobbies to improve the welfare of companion animals, promote humane population management, and prevent the cross-border export of “meat dogs” in Asia.

Watch Lesley Nicol in the final Season of Downton Abbey on Sunday evenings on PBS at 9 p.m.


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