Michelle Dockery: 'We are in the golden age of television'

Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery believes we are in the "golden age of television" because there's a greater dialogue between actors and directors.

The star, who received international acclaim for her role as Lady Mary on Downton Abbey, recently told Porter magazine she's noticed a definite shift in the industry, suggesting movements such as #MeToo and Time's Up have played a key part in developing stronger roles for women.

"It's the golden age of television, where creators have the luxury of writing 10 hours as opposed to just two, so there's room to explore a character in greater depth," she explained. "It's now becoming much more normal to start a job or to read a part and for me to have a dialogue with the creators - if there are moments where it's felt the female character is not involved, for example - whereas I guess in the past, it would have felt like more of a fight."

She went on to suggest her role in the period drama opened her eyes to the widespread appeal modern TV can have, and confessed she was once "surprised" that a "burly" cab driver was a fan of the show.

"I got into a cab a little while ago, and the driver was this big, burly Guy Ritchie type. 'Where you going, love?' he said," the 38-year-old recalled. "And then it went a bit quiet. And then he was like, 'You alright?' And I was like, 'Yeah, yeah,' and told him about my day.

"And he suddenly went, 'Shame about your sister in season three.' And I just laughed out loud. People really surprise me sometimes."

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