Actress Elizabeth McGovern talks Downton Abbey on Graham Norton’s Virgin Radio Show

The award-winning actress Elizabeth McGovern joined Graham Norton on his Virgin Radio show at the weekend to talk about the latest Downton Abbey film and the release of her brand-new play.

Elizabeth has appeared in many iconic films, such as Ragtime, Ordinary People and Once Upon a Time in America. Most recently, she is probably best known for playing Cora Crawley, the Governess of Grantham, in the hit series Downton Abbey.

She is also starring in the latest film of the show, Downton Abbey: A New Era, which is due for release in March this year.

There’s no news as to whether this will be the last time we get to see the characters from the much loved drama.

When asked by Graham whether the doors are closing on the Abbey for good, she replied: “I think the doors are always open.”

Elizabeth is also playing the lead role in her latest play, AVA: The Secret Conversations, which is based on the life of Ava Gardner, the famous 1940s American actress.

Written by Elizabeth, the play is an adaptation of a book and follows Ava after her acting career when she lives in a much quieter life in London in the 1980s.

It tells the story of Ava hiring journalist Peter Evans to write her biography because she needs money. Without meaning to, the pair become quite close, and Ava spills the beans on her three ex-husbands, Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

Speaking about the play, Elizabeth told Graham: “They [Peter and Ava] had this very intense year that they spent in each other’s company, and it’s kind of my fantasy of what might have happened through the course of the year.”

The show focuses on Ava’s past relationships and the toll the movie industry often took on the lives of women working in it, something that Elizabeth says she has some experience of.

She said: “I feel I’ve given myself a licence to draw from my own experiences and channel them through Ava and Ava’s story because I don’t think that Hollywood changed all that drastically.

She continued: “It’s a macho world…and it’s a world in which women are blatantly objectified and blown up.

AVA: The Secret Conversations is set to appear at the Riverside Theatre from 18 January until 16 April.

Downton Abbey: A New Era will be in cinemas from 18 March.

You can hear Listen to The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am on Virgin Radio.

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