Stars of the show "Downton Abbey" include Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Rob James-Collier and Michelle Dockery. The first season featured 18 main characters, and subsequent seasons featured several casting changes.
"Downton Abbey" is a popular British TV series created by Julian Fellowes. It airs on ITV in the U.K. and on PBS in the U.S. It is an English country house drama that tells the story of an upper class English household before and after the First World War.
The plot of "Downton Abbey" centers on the Crawley family and their servants. Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, portrayed by Hugh Bonneville, is the head of the household. He is married to Lady Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, who is played by Elizabeth McGovern. Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael play the Lord Robert's daughters, Mary and Edith Crawley. Dame Maggie Smith plays Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, who is Lord Robert's mother.
Prominent servants in the household include the butler, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), who is a conservative and traditional figure in the show. Rob James-Collier stars as Thomas Barrow, the family's footman, who is often at the center of intrigue. Joanne Froggatt plays Anna Bates, a lady's maid in the household with her own share of personal drama. Allen Leech plays Tom Branson, a chauffeur that marries into the family.
Actors with roles outside the Crawley household include David Robb, who protrays Dr. Clarkson; Jeremy Swift, who portrays Spratt; and Samantha Bond as Lady Rosamund.