After all the turmoil Anna and Mr. Bates have had to endure on “Downton Abbey,” it should come as a relief to fans of the PBS Masterpiece series that the pair starts Season 4 this January in a good place.
“They start Season 4 in a really happy place,” actress Joanne Froggatt told Access Hollywood.
“It’s lovely, it’s really lovely. They’re very in love. They’re working hard as always and enjoying being in their cottage,” she continued. “But, you know, as always, there’s drama ahead for all the characters, so nothing stays on one level. There are always ups and downs. So yes, there are a few ups and downs for Anna and Bates again.”
While her personal life is going well, Anna has tough times in her professional life as she tries to help Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) cope with the death of her beloved husband, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), and learn how to move on.
“Anna starts Season 4 very concerned for Lady Mary. She’s in a difficult position because Lady Mary is kind of locked in this grief and she can’t kind of come back into the present,” Joanne said. “She’s just kind of closed herself off from the world [in the months since] Matthew’s death.”
One of Anna’s greatest worries is how Mary is dealing with her son, George.
“She’s very concerned that Lady Mary’s not interacting with her child, with Baby George, and that she needs to kind of break out of this emotion a little bit, for the sake of her child,” Joanne told Access. “But Anna’s in a difficult position because she can only say so much because she’s still within the constraints of having the servant/master relationship. So, she can hint and say the odd thing, but there’s not a lot she can do to kind of push her along.”
Dan wasn’t the only “Downton” actor who exited the series. Also not returning for Season 4 is Siobhan Finneran, who played the scheming member of the downstairs staff, O’Brien.
“It was so weird, especially like the first few weeks because Siobhan is so much fun as well and so we’ve got quite a lot of big personalities downstairs in the servant’s hall, so we have a real giggle filming those servants’ hall scenes. And so it was just this empty chair we were looking at and this big part of the gang was just not there,” Joanne said of filming without the actress. “It was so strange. … I mean it’s good ‘cause it opens up opportunities for new characters, new storylines and all those things, but yeah, we miss her.”
“Downton Abbey” Season 4 premieres January 5, 2014 on PBS.
-- Jolie Lash