With a huge, sparkling cast, everyone’s favorite period drama Downton Abbey was full of the best characters that arrested people’s attention. Within the posse of exciting main characters, also emerged some really interesting side characters who made appearances now and then in the show.
Both the upstairs nobility and the downstairs crowd had players that had the potential to have larger storylines, like the ill-fated Michael Gregson, or feisty Spratt. They all had rich inner lives that could have been delved into further, to add more drama to the show, and maybe even some comic relief when things got tense at the estate. These characters were destined for more in Downton Abbey.
In a Bridgerton-esque twist (a show that is compared to Downton Abbey), Violet Crawley’s butler had a hidden talent — he was a secret gossip columnist. The sassy and slightly vindictive man had many hobbies, and this was the most shocking one and something that audiences would have loved to know more about.
What kind of gossip did Spratt write about? Did it include the Dowager Countess’s tidbits and how did he carry out his operations? Everything about Spratt was juicy and he could’ve easily been the Lady Whistledown of Downton.
Lady Rosamund Painswick
Lady Rosamund was the “cool aunt” of the show, and she was also a part of covering up many Downton Abbey scandals with the ladies. She was a widow, but she lived a fantastic life in London by herself, living it up in jazz bars and dancing the night away with her family.
She was often the first person that Edith or Mary went to when they had done something wrong, or if they needed help, and she was a lot more open to discussing and sorting things that were considered unscrupulous at the time. A spin-off about her life and times would make for great television.
The death of Michael Gregson was the saddest thing that happened to Edith, but the gentleman had lived a full life before his unfortunate death in Germany. He owned a magazine of his own, and his day-to-day as an editor would have been quite interesting to watch, especially in the Twenties.
The broken marriage, the affair with Edith, and the fateful journey to Germany to get a divorce was the stuff of great tragedies, and Michael Gregson’s lonely death in the pursuit of love made him a tragic hero of sorts.
Prince Igor Kuragin
Easily one of the most intriguing characters on the show, Prince Kuragin was something. After all, he had caught the affections and attentions of the great Violet Crawley when she was young, and both of them had been ready to break off their respective marriages and elope together at the Winter Ball in St. Petersburgh.
His life had been a serious rollercoaster, falling from the highest pedestals of royalty to refugees in their nation, after the Russian Revolution. Kuragin and his wife had traveled and adjusted a lot to deal with the change, and that’s worth diving into.
The initially feisty young maid at the estate could be annoying, but she just wanted to live her life the way she wanted, which was no crime. Unfortunately, that led to her pregnancy with a Major’s son, who refused to accept the child or even support Ethel financially.
To earn a wage, she took up sex work, which brought disgrace and abuse upon her. The single mother had many struggles, which included her son being taken away from her briefly by the father’s parents, but she always rose to the occasion, which made her a true main character.
Another downstairs character who had a movie-worthy background was the otherwise unassuming Baxter. A quiet woman, she was calm and collected, even in the face of blackmail by her fellow servants.
The reason for blackmail was her treacherous love affair, where she was hoodwinked into stealing her previous mistress’s jewels for a conman. Even after the disgraceful episode, Phyllis was able to rise above and find a respectable job, and even confess to Cora about her crimes. Baxter’s plain appearance hid many secrets.
Young Gwen was the perfect example of a rags-to-riches story, and she was encouraged by Sybil to leave her life of servitude behind, and become a secretary. However, fortune favored her, as did her hard work, and she met a nobleman who then married her, effectively making her one of the upstairs people.
Gwen’s story was inspiring, to say the least, and fans would have loved to see her go from victory to victory and build a life for herself that she desired through her determination.
One of the most annoying things Mary did was break Matthew’s engagement, even if fans were rooting for her to end up with him. Poor Lavinia Swire ended up a tragic heroine in the middle of a love triangle, which was another hurdle in her already complex life.
After being involved in the Marconi scandal, she had to do a lot of damage control with her father. Meeting Matthew was supposed to be a turning point for her life, but instead, she was jilted, and then died because of the Spanish Flu, which made her a tragedy queen of sorts.
Villainous and conniving though she may be, Vera Bates and her manic energy made her a great anti-hero. She enjoyed ruining John Bates’ life with calculated steps and made sure that she would get him in trouble for whatever she could.
After pulling many scams using Bates’ name, her final crime was the work of an evil genius. Killing herself, she made sure that Bates was free of her but making it look like he did it prevented him from being with Anna. Vera deserved to be documented more.