Downton Abbey open for a fourth series, six months after losing Matthew Crawley, a change of pace will see potential suitors for Lady Mary come flooding in.When the doors of the hit ITV period drama
Michelle Dockery, whose character gave birth to baby George only to tragically lose her husband Matthew in a road accident, spoke of the various love interests to come in the surprising turn of events.
She told a Television Critics Association panel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday: "The fourth [season] is about recovery. She's starting a new life."
"There's various suitors that are being thrown in her direction.
"But she's very reluctant to go through with any of it because, of course, she can't stop thinking about Matthew. It's hard to bond with the baby because, of course, she's going through the grief," she said.
"She has more than one love interest", added the actress, who last season was as shocked as viewers when she found out the grand finale twist of Matthew's fatal car accident.
"My first reaction was, 'Oh crap, what is going to happen?' I thought, 'Where can the story go now,' we spent all this time having this on-off, will-they/won't-they relationship?"
But Julian Fellows, writer and creator of the hit show set in 1922, persuaded Michelle to see the ending as a new beginning, and an opportunity to take the character in all new directions.
Those new directions come in the shape of new love interests Charles Blake, played by Foyle's War star Julian Ovenden, 36, and Lord Anthony Gillingham – "an old family friend… since the girls were little", played by Welsh actor Tom Cullen.
Another handsome gentleman to cross the threshold is Evelyn Napier, played by Brendan Patricks. He was seen in season one when he introduced Mary to her first lover, Turkish diplomat Mr Pamuk, who died alongside Mary in her bed.
While there are sure to be more twists and turns this season, Michelle reassure fans that, as far as she knows, no more major characters will be leaving ITV's award-winning series.
In fact, a grand total of nine new characters will join the Downton cast.
Downton Abbey's fourth season will hit UK screens in September and is already expected to pull in millions of viewers.