Downton Abbey star Jim Carter thrilled his mum, 99, can share honours news

Jim Carter attending the Swimming with Men premiere held at Curzon Mayfair, London.
Jim Carter attending the Swimming with Men premiere held at Curzon Mayfair, London.

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter has said he is “delighted” at being able to share news of his OBE with his 99-year-old mother, Molly Carter.

The actor, who plays butler Charles Carson in the period drama, has been given the award in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his services to drama.

The 70-year-old told the Press Association: “I’m honoured. I’m particularly delighted this honour came in time to share with my mum, Molly, who is 99 and she was thrilled, she lit up at the news, so that was very good.”

His wife, actress Imelda Staunton, was awarded a CBE in 2016 for her services to drama.

Sir Peter Hall memorial service
Jim Carter and his wife, actress Imelda Staunton (Yui Mok/PA)

Carter said: “She was delighted (at the news). I mean, I guess it’s mainly recognition due to Downton Abbey. It says ‘for services to drama’ and I’m not sure quite what services I’ve given to drama – longevity probably as I’m approaching about 49 years in the business – so a long service medal!”.

The big-screen adaptation of the hit ITV show will be released in 2019.

Asked about receiving his honour in the year of Downton’s return, he said: “I suppose that does add to the poignancy of it.

“I’m sure it’s in recognition of the popularity of Downton and also personally I like to quietly take it as a thank you for what Downton has allowed me to do in terms of work for charity and fundraising.”

He said Downton’s global appeal is due to a mixture of elements, including the fact that it presents a “romantic view of the past”.

He added: “It’s a safe view of the past. In these chaotic times people look back on it as … it’s a romanticised view of a time when people knew their place and were happy with their place and the sun shone, people fell in and out of love, but it’s uncynical.

“It’s about people falling in love uncynically and without guns. There’s no men with guns which one gets a little tired of.”

The star of films including 1996’s Brassed Off, about the troubles faced by a colliery brass band following the closure of their pit, Carter also has a long list of theatre credits to his name, including Guys And Dolls at the National Theatre.

Citing other projects such as BBC drama The Singing Detective as a career highlight, he said: “Really I just enjoy work. I don’t really pick out favourites but then I also don’t judge my life just by the work I do. I don’t take that as a measure of my happiness really.”

The actor said to celebrate his accolade when he receives it next year he will “gather some old mates around and we’ll go out and just have a nice lunch”.

Carter said he hoped 2019 would be filled with more “good news and kindness”.

He said: “Any good news is welcome at the moment if you look at the state of the world and the gloom around Brexit, the despair around Trump, the way that all the lunatics in the world are being empowered. It’s worrying times.

“I’m hoping for a 2019 of good news and kindness – it’d be nice to see a little bit more kindness creeping back into the world.”

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