Hi, Sue here. Publishing assistant and Downton fan!
I know that I’m not alone in thinking that Jim Carter has one of the most mellifluous voices in the business. It’s like listening to molten chocolate – deep and rich.
He also has a commanding screen presence which is why he’s perfect to play the pivotal role of Carson the butler in the phenomenally successful ITV production, Downton Abbey.
Carson is old-school – very mindful of class distinction and etiquette, and keen to unflinchingly uphold society’s strict codes. He often has to wield his considerable authority and come down hard on the younger members of the below-stairs staff who chafe against the rigid strictures of 1920s’ Britain. However, under his buttoned-up exterior there beats a soft heart which is particularly revealed in his dealings with Lady Mary, whom he almost regards as his own daughter having watched her grow up. He also, of course, betrays a twinkle in the eye whenever he talks to Mrs Hughes the housekeeper. The last series saw them sharing a seaside paddle so everyone has high hopes for romance between the pair in Series 5 – although the writer, Julian Fellowes (also a supporter of Living Paintings) will probably keep us in suspense a bit longer yet! What is certain is that the struggle between modern ideas and the establishment will continue to cause ructions above and below stairs as the characters strive to break free from tradition to fulfill their ambitions.
Here at Living Paintings’ HQ in Kingsclere we feel a particular connection to Downton Abbey as it’s filmed just down the road at Highclere Castle. We know that Jim Carter has a punishing filming schedule so were very grateful that he took time out to record our BBC Radio 4 Appeal. Whilst the velvety voice remains, Jim in person is far warmer and more approachable than the formidable Carson! Please listen and donate to our Radio 4 Appeal at 7.55 am and 9.26pm on Sunday 15 June or 3.27pm on Thursday 19 June.
Credit: Photograph of Jim Carter playing Carson taken from ITV Downton Abbey website.