Downton Abbey 2: Raquel Cassidy teases ‘most amazing, sumptuous ride’


We caught up with Raquel, who plays Baxter, to chat all things Downton Abbey: A New Era (Picture: Focus Features/Ben Blackall/Carnival/ITV)

Downton Abbey star Raquel Cassidy has teased that fans are in for an ‘amazing, sumptuous Downton ride’ when the new sequel film releases in cinemas next Friday.

The hugely popular TV series, created by Julian Fellowes, is finally back with its second film – Downton Abbey: A New Era – later this month, after multiple release delays.

Star Raquel is sworn to secrecy over the giving away too much detail of the storylines involved in the next instalment, which might not be the last, however she shared a few juicy titbits regarding what’s in store for fans as well as her character, the Countess of Grantham’s (Elizabeth McGovern) lady’s maid, Phyllis Baxter.

Discussing what she was particularly excited for viewers to see this time around, the actress revealed that there were things she found ‘exquisite’ about the new film but was careful not to divulge too much.

‘I went and saw it at a little screening in anticipation of talking to people about it, and from the moment it begins, you’re like, “Wow, we’re in for the most amazing, sumptuous Downton ride,” she told Metro.co.uk.

‘You can just tell from the opening.

Raquel is back as lady’s maid Phyllis Baxter (Picture: Getty)

‘I just think, if I could experience that much excitement as someone who’s actually been in it, then I’m so thrilled for the fans because I think Simon [Curtis] the director and the whole team have knocked it out the park, I really do.’

The trailer has revealed a split between two major locations – that of Downton Abbey, which is seemingly turned into a film set, and a villa in the south of France, mysteriously bequeathed to the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith).

Baxter is in the group that travels to France, which she equates to ‘going to the moon’ for her character.

‘I’m not sure that this scene that we’ve filmed actually makes it into the final cut, because it’s so many stories and everything, but she’s actually very excited about going to France,’ explained Raquel. ‘I think her only lack of excitement – this definitely hasn’t made it into the final film – is that she’d like to take Mr Molesley with her.’

Downton Abbey S5 - The fifth series, set in 1924, sees the return of our much loved characters in the sumptuous setting of Downton Abbey. RAQUEL CASSIDY as Baxter and KEVIN DOYLE as Molesley. Photographer: Nick Briggs

Caption: Downton Abbey S5 – The fifth series, set in 1924, sees the return of our much loved characters in the sumptuous setting of Downton Abbey.
RAQUEL CASSIDY as Baxter and KEVIN DOYLE as Molesley.
Photographer: Nick Briggs

Photographer: Nick Briggs
Copyright: ITV
(Credits: Nick Briggs)

She added: ‘There’s definitely a wedding. And I think the romantic side of Baxter is really prevalent. Whenever I step into Baxter’s shoes, there always seems to be a bit of a theme, and where maybe towards the end of the series and in the last film, there was longing maybe, in this film she’s so thrilled to be going to France because it’s like going to the moon. It would be as if you or I were told, “Ready, steady, get packed, we’re going to the moon”, which actually that would terrify me, but she’s not terrified. She’s absolutely thrilled.’

Discussing the new location’s affect on butler Mr Carson, she revealed that France seems to ‘terrify Mr Carson [Jim Carter] in his sort of rambunctious way, but Baxter is just thrilled’.

‘I think the only thing is, because she knows what’s happening back at the big house, she is worried that Mr Molesley might put his foot in it because he reveals himself to be this this film [lover], this cine-lover.’

Speaking of their sweet bond, which has seemed to teeter on the edge of romance before, Raquel, who has also earned fans as strict teacher icon Miss Hardbroom in the recent CBBC reboot of The Worst Witch, continued: ‘I think she’d like to take him to protect him, but she’d also love to see this Hollywood by the sea, this moon. She’d like to do the moon landing with Mr Moseley.

‘She doesn’t get to do that because he doesn’t go to France.’

Newcomers Dominic West, Hugh Dancy and Laura Haddock also join Downton’s swelling ranks as new characters, joining stalwarts including Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle.  

Downton Abbey: A New Era is out in cinemas on April 29.

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