Rob James-Collier: Michelle Obama Loves ‘Downton Abbey’

Rob James-Collier (Araya Diaz/Getty Images)

Downton Abbey” has a fan in the First Lady. Rob James-Collier, who plays footman Thomas Barrow on the hit PBS series, revealed in an exclusive interview with that while President Barack Obama watches “Homeland,” Michelle Obama prefers “Downton.”

How does he know? Here is the story as told by James-Collier:

“For Thanksgiving, the cast of ‘Downton’ were asked by the American ambassador in London Louis Susman and his wife to be their guest for Thanksgiving dinner at the American Embassy in London at Regent’s Park.

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“We turn up there thinking there are going to be loads of other dignitaries — that there is literally going to be hundreds of people. We get there and we are having a bit of a bounce with the security guy at the gate and we ask, ‘What other people are coming?’ He wa likes, ‘No, no no. It is just you guys and the Susmans — 23 people all in all.’

“So we met them and they are lovely people. We sat at this huge table. It was weird. It was like being on ‘Downton,’ but we were being served by these beautiful, austere waiters, so the role was on the other foot.

“Before we sat down for our meal, Louis stood up and said, ‘I would like to make a speech.’ He made a lovely speech welcoming us all, then he said, ‘Before we start to eat, I would like to read you a letter from a secret admirer.’

“He takes out this letter: ‘Hi guys. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving evening with the Susmans. I know you will. They are great hosts. I just want to say, I love your show. I am a fan. I love its family values.’ Then at the end, it says, ‘Yours sincerely, Michelle Obama.’

“He handed the letter to [‘Downton’ creator] Julian Fellowes and it is signed by her. I said, ‘You better be getting us all a photocopy of that.’

“He is asking the embassy if that is okay, but fingers crossed when we get back, we will have a nice copy of the letter from Michelle Obama.”

Relive the First Two Seasons of “Downton” in Five Minutes:

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“Downton Abbey” returns for its third season on Sunday, Jan. 6 as part of PBS’ “Masterpiece.”


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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