Richard E. Grant has been “very naughty”, according to Downton Abbey series creator Julian Fellowes.
Grant, who recently appeared as Jasper in HBO’s Lena Dunham vehicle Girls and as the Great Intelligence-possessed Dr Walter Simeon in series seven of Doctor Who, is set to appear in four episodes of the upcoming fifth series of Downton Abbey as Simon Bricker, described as an “upstairs guest” of the Crawley family. The 56 year old actor, however, irked creator Fellowes when he tweeted the following pictures, one of himself in full character get-up, from the set during a day of filming:
On DOWNTON ABBEY duty this fine LickYourPlateCleanFriday pic.twitter.com/prbKLHdBee
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) March 28, 2014
Downton Abbey has notoriously kept its scripts secret from a public anxious to find out what is going to happen next on the immensely popular ITV period drama, which debuted in the UK and Ireland 2010 (its United States debut was in January of 2011) and was recognized by the Guinness Books of Word Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television show of 2011.
Fellowes commented on the problems social media sites such as Twitter cause when one is trying to keep a sense of mystery and anticipation attached to their show:
“The trouble we’ve had with things like Twitter. We had to explain to the cast about the dangers of tweeting as no one realised how interested everybody was in the show,” he told the Telegraph. “You’re in a bubble when you’re filming. You’re just tweeting these nice things and you don’t realise there are millions of people worldwide trying to pick up the plot.”
Downton Abbey isn’t the first time that Julian Fellows and Richard E Grant have worked together. They both were involved in the 2001 Robert Altman film Gosford Park, Grant having a small role and Fellowes writing the screenplay. Gosford Park also featured Downton Abbey and Harry Potter Maggie Smith. Back in February, Grant spoke to Vulture on how he came to be in the upcoming season of Downtown Abbey:
Of all the Gosford cast, only Dame Maggie Smith was cast in Downton Abbey. I thought there was kind of, for want of a better term, a creative embargo there. That Julian didn’t want any overlap. But journalists over the years have said to me, “Are you going to be in Downton? Why aren’t you in Downton?” I didn’t feel like I could email Julian to say, “Oy! Can you please write me a part?” He knows who everyone is. He was an actor. I would imagine if I had done that it might have had the reverse effect. So nothing happened, and I thought, Ah well, I’ve missed out on the Harry Potter franchise, and I’ll miss out on the Downton phenomenon. Then a month ago, I got an email asking if I’d do four episodes, and instead of playing someone downstairs, like I did in Gosford years ago, would I play someone upstairs? I said yes fast. But it’s possible someone else turned it down or dropped dead. Who knows?
Fellowes couldn’t have been too angry with Grant’s Twitter reveal, as he did show up for the launch of Grant’s new fragrance, Jack.
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) April 3, 2014