Every Downton fan has a favourite character… for those who’ve yet to experience the wonder of this beloved series, we’ve summed up the back-stories of all the players hired by the Crawleys
Tom Branson played by Allen Leech
Tom is a staunch Irish nationalist with political ambitions. This handsome chauffeur falls in love with a Crawley lady, and through a tragic event, will find himself living on the Downton estate permanently.
Charles Carson played by Jim Carter
A proud and protective employee who takes his job very seriously and expects the same dedication he puts in from his staff. He is seen as the fatherly figure to the staff at Downton. He doesn’t like change, such as telephones being installed in Downton Abbey… but eventually plucks up the courage to learn how to use them!
Elsie Hughes played by Phyllis Logan
Mrs Hughes is the matronly housekeeper at Downton Abbey and is close friends with Mrs Patmore. She is generous and forgiving, even though she comes across prim and set in her ways.
John Bates played by Brendan Coyle
He served alongside Lord Crawley during the Boer Wars and this is why he gets the job as valet, even though he needs a cane to walk. The Downton staff don’t like him, and many go out of their way to show that he can’t do his job. Bates’ romantic life is put to the test, and is central to the development of his story.
Sarah O’Brien played by Siobhan Finneran
Miss O’Brien is Lady Grantham’s snooping housemaid. She is a bitter and cynical woman, who’s made it a priority to undermine Bates. Her spiteful nature wreaks havoc for Lady Cora, as well.
Anna Bates played by Joanne Froggatt
She is the loyal and compassionate head housemaid, and the only staff member to befriend Bates when he first arrives. She becomes involved in a secret relationship, which will define her character.
Thomas Barrow played by Rob James-Collier
The conniving under-butler at Downton Abbey tries every scheme he can think of in order to get promoted, and will steamroller anyone who gets in his way… which spells trouble for Bates.
Daisy Mason played by Sophie McShera
A timid and gullible scullery maid who is far too fascinated by all the goings-on at Downton. Luckily, Mrs Patmore takes Daisy under her wing and looks after her even though she often bears the brunt of Mrs Patmore’s frustrations.
Beryl Patmore played by Lesley Nicol
Downton’s bossy cook, who blames Daisy for her mistakes in the kitchen. Eventually, we discover that her eyesight is to blame, and Lord Crawley pays for her to have corrective eye surgery.