Laura Carmichael almost turned down the role of ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Lady Edith

It’s hard to imagine that PBS’s Downton Abbey would ever be the same if it weren’t for the actors and actresses that make up the core cast. However, a lot of secrets are being revealed as the period drama goes into its final season, including the inside scoop on the difficult decision Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, had to make before eventually accepting the role.

At the time, Laura Carmichael was working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office after attending drama school. She heard about the show, but not much information had been released. “We didn’t see a breakdown about Edith because it was all so confidential,” Carmichael told the Tribune News Service.  “At that point, they weren’t sending out scripts or character descriptions.”

Plus, the actress wasn’t all too interested in the show, since she had just landed the role of Viola in a touring production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” The play planned on touring places like Dubai and Syria and meshed much more nicely with the actresses dreams of theater rather than TV.

But life took over, and in a crazy change of events, she found herself being offered a role she never expected.

She did a lot of thinking, but eventually Carmichael took the plunge and chose Downton over Shakespeare. It’s a risky decision, but it paid off tenfold. Lady Edith is now one of our favorite characters, and it’s all thanks to Charmichael’s brilliant performance. Downton Abbey returns for its sixth and final season on January 3rd, 2016.

(Image via Helga Esteb /

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