Downton Abbey Season 3 Cast Photo

Posted on July 23, 2012

Darlings, let’s take a break from criticizing children and look at the official poster for Season 3 of Downton Abbey, which is out and ready to be discussed. And like all official Downton Abbey cast photos, perspective and physics take a back seat, as the cast are turned, through the magic of Photoshop, into flat, two-dimensional versions of themselves, stacked on top of each other and extending into infinity like an unusually long string of paper dolls.
Freaky, right?

Still, it’s mouthwatering for those of us who are breathlessly awaiting the U.S. premiere on January 6, 2013.

It’s both weird and oddly fitting to see Shirley standing there. We hope she goes full-on Aurora Greenway, 1920s version.

The cast got together for photocall right in Shirley’s backyard:

Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Michelle Dockery, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth McGovern and Brendan Coyle attend the ‘Downton Abbey’ photo call in Beverly Hills, California.


They all look like they don’t quite know what to do with their crazy grandma.

Let’s assess.


Hugh Bonneville

Hugh can look amazingly sloppy unkempt at times, so this represents a major effort on his part. Well done. The jacket seems a skosh long, but that’s minor.


Joanne Froggatt

Adorable. And appropriately evocative of the 1920s. She’s doing a pretty good job, whether intentional of not, of looking like a modern, sexy version of her character.

Michelle Dockery

This is very pretty and ladylike, but she needs to play with color more.


Shirley MacLaine

She looks great. That jacket is striking. Not entirely sold on the wig, though, Shirl.


Elizabeth McGovern

Wow. Someone took some advanced red carpet posing instruction. She used to tuck her chin in and look out at the world from under her brow, with a close-mouthed grin. It was disconcerting, to say the least. Now she’s all popped hip and sass. This is what she tends to go for, shape and color-wise, including the tights. It’s fine, but it could’ve used some jewelry.


Brendan Coyle

Thank you for coming, Monsignor.




[Photo Credit: Getty, PBS]

    • Kiltdntiltd

      Wow, Shirley couldn’t get a good human hair wig?  That thing looks like something from the bin at the Salvation Army. Joanna for the win, in my humble opinion.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        Shirley MacLaine ran out of fucks to give a long time ago.  And when that well runs dry, you get whatever wig is cheapest.  At least, that’s what I’m telling people about my synthetic hair wig.  It pleases me to know we’re both shopping from the Raquel Welch line.

        • Kiltdntiltd

           oh GAWD you just made my morning.  BWAH hah ha hah ha

        • Knightley

           Comment FTW!  I can’t like it enough! :)

        • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName


          • SpillinTea

             My favorite cereal is LIFE!! And I got it! And I lived!

            • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

              awwright, HATE-RETHA!

    • MajorBedhead

      I think I’m developing a girl-crush on Michelle Dockery and her alabaster skin and high forehead and beautiful hair.

      • Sobaika

        I know! What a perfect English rose.

      • LeBarron

        And the eyebrows.  Never forget the eyebrows.

    • GorgeousThings

      I saw the picture and I wondered if they had all decided to dress down, color-wise, so Shirley could have the spotlight. I’m so glad to see that Lady Sybil is back! At least, I hope she’s back.

      • AmeliaEve

         Yeah, I was thinking that the plain fabrics are actually good choices for a group shot, though the ladies could have spread their wings a bit colorwise. Love JoFro to bits here.

    • JennaMarieS

      Only the wonderful JoFro could have made TLo ignore the black lace. She looks the best out of all of them.

    • Annie Leung

      I’m so excited for season 3! Hugh Bonneville should get bonus points for his “Free Bates” shirt. 

      • Toto Maya

         Can I get a “HANG BATES” t-shirt? I mean, I don’t hate Bates, but it would be interesting if they hanged the bastard.

    • Tadiana

      The chauffeur needs to have a fatal auto accident in the first episode.  Bates & Mrs. Bates can take a long honeymoon.  Otherwise I’m beyond excited to get involved in everyone’s lives again.

      Also, no screwing around with Matthew and Mary’s love life.  They’ve been through enough already.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        I like the chauffeur.  In fact, I think he should have regular open-shirt heart examinations, like in whatever season it was when he didn’t go to WWI.

      • John Spodick

        Well someone doesn’t want any drama whatsoever, now does she?

    • PinkLemon

      Misteh Behhhhhtes

    • MilaXX

      Can’t wait to see the new season!

    • formerlyAnon

      “Thank you for coming, Monsignor.”
      Involuntary audible chuckle coming from my cubicle, again.

      I’m fairly sure I’m going to get the next tedious “other duties as assigned” project, based solely on the impression I’m giving that I’m doing something other than work in here.

      • Teresa M.

        “Thank you for coming, Monsignor.” I nearly spit out half my mocha!

    • Delysia LaFosse

      Downton Abbey in the Roaring Twenties. I can’t fucking wait! As a side note, Michelle Dockery’s skin is just gorgeous. She must be a dab hand with the SPF 100.

      • Heather

        Or, she sold her soul to Satan for that skin!

      • Fionnuala Barrett

        I believe she is obliged to keep herself as pale as possible around the calendar year for Downton — I distinctly remember an interview where she talked about donning a massive sunhat at the slightest indication of sun.

    • 1carmelita

      January 6 seems like such a long time from now! 

      • GillianHolroyd

        It doesn’t *have* to be…

        • MajorBedhead

           It’s airing in September in the UK. If you know Uncle Torrence, you can get it sooner than January.

    • formerlyAnon

      That is a GREAT “I am the eccentric Grand Dame” ensemble Ms. MacLaine’s wearing. The wig is perhaps a stand in for the over-intensely henna’d red one might see on a 20s-era eccentric Grande Dame?”

      There’s something a little over-caffeinated about Ms. McGovern’s gaze, but perhaps I’m just adjusting.  The pretty young women are pretty, and I just can’t get over how boyishly adorable Hugh Bonneville can look sometimes.

      Brendan Coyle is perhaps just reminding us of the Irish half of his heritage? That’s how it strikes me, anyway.

    • Jennifer Swegler

      Gah. Love this show. Can’t wait until it comes back (why is it such a very, very, long time away?)  

    • SewingSiren

      I look forward to the premiere. But I’m probably the only one who doesn’t think that Shirley MacLaine will be an improvement to the cast.

      • librarygrrl64

        No, I’m with you on that. Feels waaayyyyy too much like stunt casting to me. I expect a cringe-worthy amount of scenery chewing.

        • formerlyAnon

          “a cringe-worthy amount of scenery chewing.”
          On DOWNTON ABBEY??????

          How the heck would you notice? Not a chance in hell while Matthew’s plot line, whatever it is this season, is still wandering about the set.

          • librarygrrl64

            LOL! You speak truth. I loved season one, but wanted to shoot the TV (a la Elvis) more than once during season two. But I still won’t be able to resist season three, I know it. I just hate having to deal with the people who insist on regarding it as anything more than a glorified soap opera with a big budget and posh accents.

    • Judy_J

      Can’t wait to see Shirley McLaine in action!  I’ve been a fan since I first saw her in Irma la Douce.

    • Corsetmaker

      Ooh! Can’t wait! Not long now.

    • Ms_Flyover

      “Let’s all dress in something dark.  I got the memo – everyone else got the memo.   Apparently Shirley DIDN”T get the memo.  Damned American (no offense, Elizabeth, but you are at least an ex-pat.)”

    • Le_Sigh

      Ooh – Miss Shirls – I love the contrast of her next to the iron gaze of Maggie Smith in the cast photo.  Am looking forward to their (hopefully) ever so deliciously bitchy interactions. 

      • littlemac8

        That’s Miss McClaine to you, upstart!  I just hope her voice isn’t as shrill as in some of her recent screen appearances. 

        • Le_Sigh

           Yes yes – I stand corrected!  Miss McClaine indeed!  (I just came off a viewing of The Apartment – I can’t help but think of her as ‘Shirley’ when I see her old movies)

    • AuntieAnonny

      Note Lady Mary’s hands in the poster. Baby drama?!

      • MRC210

         Or she’s sporting a ring?  It’s hard to tell.

    • MRC210

      Judging from that cast photo, Lady Edith got her hair bobbed and finger-waved — it looks good on her too. Girl finally got her own gays, apparently.  

    • Judy_S

      Monsignor Yummy.

    • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

      i have developed a hopeless crush on ms. froggatt.

      • Leigh Kwiatek

         She was in a British television series that aired on Masterpiece Theatre: Island at War.  It was a great series but ended too quickly (I think the writer died).   Laurence Fox (whom I love!) is in it, as well as James Wilby, Clare Holman – and a bunch of others.  I believe it is available on Netflix.  

        • MRC210

           I share your love of Laurence Fox but had never heard of Island at War.  Thanks, I’ll look for it on Netflix.

    • jilly_d

      MONSIGNOR! BWAAAAHAHAHA! Spot on, fellas. Thanks for the LOLZ.

    • Linda Merrill

      This pic of Hugh Bonneville with a “Free Bates” t-shirt under the suit has been making the rounds:

    • Linda Merrill

      Joanna Froggatt is scheduled to be on the Late Late Show on Friday night. 

      • LeBarron

        I will definitely have to watch. Craig Ferguson is already my hero, but I especially love when has British guests.

        • Linda Merrill

          Love Craig! But just read that JF was bumped to a later date.

    • snich11

      Shirley looks demented (in a good way.)

    • Celandine1

      “…as the cast are turned, through the magic of Photoshop, into flat,
      two-dimensional versions of themselves, stacked on top of each other and
      extending into infinity like an unusually long string of paper dolls.”

      I keep waiting for a giant foot to come down and smash half of the cast or for their heads to flip up and unexpected things to pop out al la Monty Python.

    • librarygrrl64

      “flat, two-dimensional versions of themselves, stacked on top of each other and extending into infinity like an unusually long string of paper dolls.” Spot-on description. It’s creepy and cheap-looking.

      Hugh Bonneville looks great, but he can also pull off that rumpled-English-teddy-bear look like nobody’s business. I adore him.

    • LeBarron

      I will never be able to hold out until January. God bless the Internet.

    • HM3

      Omigosh I am SO PROUD of myself! I play a little game where–as I scroll from photo to photo–I try to guess what was done right and what was done wrong (if anything) with each outfit. I got a 100% on today’s TLo quiz!

    • pookiesmom

      “as the cast are turned, through the magic of Photoshop, into flat, two-dimensional versions of themselves, stacked on top of each other and extending into infinity like an unusually long string of paper dolls.”


    • Judih1

      Joanne would have been my favorite if she had done something with her hair and worn better shoes. I like Elizabeth McGovern – especially since she has learned how to pose on the red carpet

    • bellafigura1

      I have unexpected feelings for Brendan Coyle (Bates, of course, whose real name I did not know until this moment, thank you) the schlumpy limping wife-murdering valet. Weirdly hot.

    • Beth G

      At first I thought Brendan Coyle was Vince Gill and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he was doing with that group.