Downton Abbey's Carson admits: we lost our way
23:53 GMT, 2 August 2012
Jim Carter plays butler Mr Carson in Downton Abbey
The second series of ITV’s Downton Abbey was criticised for storylines that moved the focus away from the family drama which had made the show such a success.
Now one of its veteran actors has spoken out to agree that series two, which was set during World War I, lost its way.
Jim Carter, who plays refined butler Mr Carson, tells me the new series, which begins next month, will go back to basics, with a focus on the day-to-day life of the Crawley family.
‘The second series got a bit pacey. There wasn’t much humour,’ the 63-year-old admitted. ‘The new series comes back to the family again and back to the characters we know. It’s going back to how it was, focusing on the relationships between all of them, which is nice.’
After a private cast screening of the first episode, he gave his endorsement. ‘It had that big, rolling and cinematic feeling to it that the first series had,’ he said.
The actor, who is married to Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton, went on to reveal Downton creator Julian Fellowes had struggled to adapt to its surprise success, which resulted in him changing the original plan for the show.
‘Events overtook Julian. He’s had to adjust his ideas as he’s gone along. He originally intended only three series.
‘Then because of the success of the show, he decided: “Woah, let’s slow down this gallop through time. Let’s hold this back because we want it to roll on for longer.”’
Carter joked that at this rate Fellowes could end up continuing the drama for decades to come.
‘I think we’ll go to 1990 when Downton becomes a health spa and I’ll be in charge of the botox salon,’ he laughed.
Series two: Jim Carter said the second series of the popular drama was 'pacey' and did not have the same humour as the first series
ITV's 'rising star' Kier Simmons defect to rival NBC
Simmons was thought to be the heir to ITV News' anchor Mark Austin, above
ITV News has suffered a major blow after its brightest rising star quit this week to defect to a major U.S. broadcaster.
ITN’s UK editor Keir Simmons will leave to become NBC’s London correspondent within weeks.
The 40-year-old was widely considered the heir apparent to ITV News’s Mark Austin.
But last night a source within the department told me: ‘We couldn’t match NBC’s offer.
'They’d been chasing Keir for some time and he’d been working for them on the weekends.’
Keir’s appointment is significant. NBC Nightly News is America’s top-rating news broadcast.
He will also work on its 24-hour channel MSNBC and the iconic breakfast show Today.
My source adds: ‘Usually the U.S. broadcasters send their top up-and-coming reporters to cover London for a couple of years.
'But they believe he has the star quality and charisma to succeed on American TV.’
is going all out to attract major stars to the new dramas it’s
developing. I’m told Helen Mirren is in discussions to sign for one.
My drama source says: ‘There have been some exciting discussions.
Channel 4 need to start making an impact again and Helen would instantly create a lot of buzz.’
Rookie presenter Jake nips at Lineker's heels
I’m told BBC bosses are sending a clear message to their star sports presenter Gary Lineker with the heavy use of his up-and-coming professional rival throughout their Olympics coverage.
Former CBBC presenter Jake Humphrey has been used extensively on BBC1 and BBC3, including on the night of the opening ceremony.
He is said to be the likely option to replace Lineker as the BBC’s main football host if the former England foot-baller quits over demands to cut his estimated 2 million-a-year salary.
Replacement: Jake Humphrey, left, is rumoured to be next in line to take over Gary Lineker's job if the latter, right, decides to quit in response to potential cuts to his annual salary of two million pounds
There are rumours he could defect to BT in a lucrative deal to front its new premier league coverage.
My BBC source says: ‘Jake’s proving that he’s ready to take a big step up if Gary was to leave. The reality is that Jake is paid a fraction of Gary’s salary, so that could be an attractive option for us politically.’
Dannii Minogue has turned down a big money approach to appear as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
A source close to the former X Factor judge reveals: ‘The BBC have been throwing money at her.
'They’ve told her she’s their number one priority because the producers believe she could help them thrash X Factor.
'But Dannii doesn’t make decisions based on money and damaging The X Factor would just look spiteful.’