Daisy’s Downton demise

The cook exits the scullery

In the six years she has been playing dowdy Daisy Mason, the kitchenhand of Downton Abbey, actress Sophie McShera has scrubbed floors, pummelled pastry and gazed longingly at the glamour of “upstairs”.

“Poor Daisy’s a total dogsbody,” Sophie tells Woman’s Day. “She spends her life getting sweaty in an apron. The make-up people put dirt under my fingernails and wouldn’t even let me wash my hair. Then I’d see the upstairs ladies in their beautiful clothes and jewels, and think, ‘This is so unfair!’”

In real life, the actress admits she wouldn’t know a saucepan from a salad spinner – her talent lies in clothes shopping. “Nothing too fancy or designer – just things I feel good in,” insists Sophie.

Brightly tarted up as Lily’s evil stepsister Drizella in Cinderella.

Fashion-forward Sophie dressed down in drab servant’s gear to play Daisy.

Moving on up

Sad as she is to see Downton nearing the end of its phenomenally popular run, the Yorkshire-born 30-year-old is looking forward to an image remake. “I’ve definitely served my time in the scullery and it will be nice to do something different,” she smiles. “But I’ve loved my time on the show. “The thing we’ll all miss most is the fantastic sense of togetherness. At first, there was a sense of two separate groups, with the family scenes being shot at Highclere Castle and us servants filmed in the studio. But as time went on, we began to mix more and now we are just a big bunch of mates.”

One of Sophie’s most treasured memories is meeting the Duchess of Cambridge when she visited the set early this year. “She’s a big fan and knew who we all were,” she recalls. “I got to show her my fridge, which had only just been invented in the 1920s and is a really big thing for the Downton kitchen. The trouble was that it didn’t actually work, but people still kept putting food in it and the set was getting a bit smelly. Kate was very sweet and pretended not to notice.”

Another recent life highlight for Sophie has been starring as a wicked stepsister to her Downton co-starLily James in the Disney remake of Cinderella. She grins, “It was so much fun to dress up in something gorgeous at last and be a baddie. It was actually great to have Lily playing Cinderella because we know each other and had a brilliant time together – and I got to be really mean to her!”

Now with a serious Hollywood role behind her, the future looks bright for Sophie. But what about Daisy? The actress laughs, “I think Daisy will be OK because she’s on her way up from lowly beginnings and she’s determined to make something better of herself. She could even end up as a politician!”

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