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Inside Quotes: 'Downton Abbey' Creator On Wanting To Intro A Black Character Who Isn't A Victim

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by Tambay A. Obenson
September 6, 2013 7:31 PM
9 Comments
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Downton's jazz man Gary Carr
Downton's jazz man Gary Carr

“I was very keen he should be a positive character. I feel this quite strongly... So many black characters in TV drama are victims and things are not going well for them... Even when they’re positive, even when they’re sympathetic, everything’s terrible. I feel for black young men and women. It’s very important that you see people on the screen who are not victims. This guy is not a victim. He is a very successful entertainer, a very positive guy, very attractive, and there’s no negative side, and that was important to me."

Some worth-sharing comments made by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, to the UK's Daily Mirror, regarding his decision to introduce a black character to the show's cast for its upcoming fourth season, as well as the decisive choices he made for the character - a character who will be played by Gary Carr, likely best known as the young ambitious cop Fidel Best on the BBC series Death in Paradise.

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The series premieres in the UK next month, although it won't debut on USA screens until January 2014 - an eternity to fans most likely, meaning, PBS should expect and be ready for the likelihood that there'll be some Stateside online piracy between October and January. See my most recent Luther inquiry for more on that.

In the upcoming fourth season, Carr will play a singer at an exclusive night club, described as charming and charismatic, who will stir things up a bit at Downton. 

Needless to say, I'm sure the character will be under intense scrutiny by black audiences when the season premieres, and he makes his debut, and Gary Carr's life is likely about to change a bit, as more of the world becomes familiar with him.

Thanks Angie for the heads-up on the above quote.

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9 Comments

  • Adriana | October 2, 2013 10:29 AMReply

    I love Downton Abbey so much but seriously it gives me heart ache like no other show.. I'm still not over Sybils death and from someone who has watched alot, and I mean alot, of tv-series.. Sybils death was the most painful thing I'd ever seen on Tv.. It's still so hard to watch I think, and now watching Mary go through all that pain.. it feels so unbelievably real.

  • Walter Harris Gavin | September 7, 2013 11:14 AMReply

    Find 'n dandy. But are we ever seeing the story from "his" point of view. If he's just a character on some "white" person's story, what's the point? In that case 'victim' or 'hero' doesn't matter, he's just window dressing.

  • Accidental Visitor | September 8, 2013 12:36 AM

    Should the whole narrative be thrown out of whack just to accomodate making the storyline more from this new dude's perspective? That would be stupid and frankly fans of all shows hate that type of shit (when storylines immediately start favoring a newly added character). For God's sake just don't watch the show. Better that than to expect this series to live up to some ideal on how a black character should be handled. This is where I sympathize with white writers and producers. Keep black characters off your show and you are accused of not being inclusive, maybe you are charged with being racist. Add a black character to the show and all of sudden there are specific stipulations for you to fulfill (that you may not have to for any other chaarcter) in order to not be accused of stooping to tokenism. Can't win scenario. To me this show was less "obligated" to add a black character than, say, "Mad Men" and look how much longer it took "Mad Men" to bring on a black regular. A black regular whom I'm told didn't get to do much on the show this past season. This new guy on "Downtown Abbey" at least appears that he will get more meaningful screentime than the woman on "Mad Men".

  • Kelly | September 7, 2013 9:10 AMReply

    Say what now. Come again.

  • Toussaint | September 7, 2013 12:28 AMReply

    Not a victim. Just an entertainer. Oh, a successful one.

  • Stagolee | September 6, 2013 11:18 PMReply

    I wish we could get a little more of this in our own cinema.

  • scripttease | September 7, 2013 8:56 PM

    I know that's right..... Good God!!! I have enough heartache and pain in my on life.

  • ALM | September 6, 2013 8:36 PMReply

    Yes, Gary sure is attractive. Rowr! LOL

  • LL2 | September 6, 2013 9:23 PM

    I second that. His picture is the reason I clicked on the article.

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