Julian Ovenden Reflects On His Role In Downton Abbey - Exclusive

The historical drama "Downton Abbey" made a splash when it debuted in 2010, winning awards and accolades, critical acclaim, and legions of devoted fans. Detailing the story of the upper-class Crawley family and their servants, the show follows a sprawling set of characters as they live through war, scandal, personal heartbreak, and the evolution of social norms in the early twentieth century. This included the frequent loves and losses of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), the eldest Crawley daughter, who over the course of the show proved she was not the spoiled aristocrat many expected her to be. One of the characters who initially underestimates Mary is the dashing Charles Blake, who appears in Seasons 4 and 5 of the series and is played by accomplished singer and actor Julian Ovenden.

Mary and Blake initially can't stand one another, but the pair start to respect each other when, in a memorable scene, Mary jumps in to help after Blake realizes the pigs the Crawleys have just purchased are suffering from dehydration. While Blake eventually falls for Mary and makes his interest known, he ultimately doesn't get the girl. Nonetheless, Ovenden makes a noteworthy impression in the episodes he appears in. In a conversation with The List, Ovenden reminisced about his time on "Downton Abbey."

Ovenden knew he was 'in good hands' with Downton Abbey

Although Julian Ovenden remembers working on the show fondly, the large cast made it hard for him to gauge if his character stood out. "When we shot it — it seems quite a long time ago now — but the way it's shot is so bitty, and because there's so many characters, you only get a day here and there," he explained. "I never really knew whether I made any impact whatsoever. I felt a bit frustrated that I wasn't able to carry on into the next [season], because then [Lady Mary] was whisked off by Matthew Goode [who played Mary's eventual husband, Henry Talbot] in Season 6."

Of course, by the time Ovenden joined the cast of "Downton Abbey," it was a longtime hit, which ensured he had faith in the character and story arc that were written for him. 

"It's lovely [to join a popular show] — very nice, because they're a lovely bunch of people, but also, it's nice to be in something that's got a built-in audience that's well followed," he reflected. "There's so much television now. Half the things we do as actors, they get buried under 27 pages of Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever it is ... It's quite difficult even trying to find a series now — you have to have a degree and a large bank balance. You have to subscribe to all sorts of things to be able to locate and find stuff. It was one of the most-watched shows at the time, and when you're in something like that, there's a great sense of satisfaction knowing that you were in good hands."

You can catch Julian Ovenden in "The Lost Girls," currently playing in theaters and on demand.