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Ah, autumn, season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and – Downton Abbey! Have grown-ups ever yearned quite so much for those sun-dappled evenings to draw in and the ultimate Sunday-night saga to continue? There was surely not a dry eye in the land when she was spurned by cousin Matthew at the end of series one, for snootily, foolishly dithering over his marriage proposal.
We have missed them so: Carson the kindly butler and Anna the darling housemaid; imperious Violet, dowager countess; beleaguered paterfamilias Robert, Earl of Grantham. And yet here she is, daringly uncorseted, tucking into a salad.
‘We are revisiting Downton at a harrowing time, and I think viewers will need an enormous box of tissues to get through this second series.
Those fabulously arched brows, the porcelain features and breathtaking snobbishness, the sly way she put the kibosh on her sister Edith’s marriage hopes, the dark-eyed sensuality of her tryst with the Turk, the aching vulnerability beneath the studied carapace of cool.
She is tall, luminously beautiful as an arum lily, slim as a (highly bred) whippet and every bit a lady.
There should be some organised group hug for all actresses who’ve played Ophelia and survived!
’As will be clear by now, Michelle is open, relaxing company, refreshingly content with her looks and comfortable in her own skin.
But the roller coaster of emotion that we are to experience over the coming weeks will nevertheless be very dramatic.