Interview: ‘Downton Abbey’ star Laura Carmichael discusses the challenges of Lady Edith

It's a perfect Lady Edith moment.

I'm talking to Laura Carmichael a couple weeks back during the Television Critics Association press tour and early in our interview, she has to pause and take a call. She's all apologetic, but it's Ealing Studios and they've apparently forgotten that Carmichael isn't in England shooting “Downton Abbey,” but rather she's Across the Pond promoting the upcoming fifth season.


That's the kind of thing that just doesn't happen with Lady Mary and CERTAINLY wouldn't have happened with Poor Lady Sybil, rest in peace.

But for Edith? Well, she's always had it harder. Lady Edith has reliably been forgotten, sneered at or grumbled about, but she perseveres.

“Julian [Fellowes] has a theory that some people in life are lucky and some people are not. And Edith has not been lucky,” Carmichael laughs. “But I think, to her credit, it's helped her be a far more proactive person and the sort of a modern day woman in that way, because she hasn't laid down and let it all washed over her. She has gotten up and gone to work and created a life for herself.”

Two seasons ago, it seemed like Lady Edith might have turned a corner. Yes, she was still subject to withering scorn from Mary and general apathy from her parents, but she seemed to have found a reasonably good man and she also had found a job. 

But in Season 4, Michael Gregson vanished in Germany, leaving Edith to cope with an unplanned pregnancy, a plight that kept her so busy that she stopped mentioning her newspaper column entirely.