Downton Abbey's Lesley Nicol on her return to the theatre in musical Annie

Lesley Nicol, who played Mrs. Patmore on Downton Abbey, explains why she's excited about her return to the theatre as the mean Miss Hannigan in a new production of the musical Annie.

Lesley Nicol won over hearts playing the brash but caring cook Mrs. Patmore on the hit television series Downton Abbey. Now, she's transformed herself into one of the meanest characters you can find, Miss Hannigan from the musical Annie.

In a conversation with q's Tom Power in Toronto, Ont., Nicol talks about playing these two very different, but very famous characters. She also opens up about her special relationship with a former Downton Abbey cast member, who she still keeps in touch with today.

Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore and Sophie McShera as Daisy in season 3 of "Downton Abbey." (Joss Barratt, Carnival Films)

"I fell in love with Sophie McShera who played Daisy, my little scullery maid, because we got on so well and have a similar sense of humor," says Nicol. "In fact Sophie's coming here [to Toronto] to do a TV show. And so I'm thrilled, because she actually played Annie. When she was a kid she played Annie. She sent me a message on the first night, this is typical Sophie, and she said, 'Good luck' — she calls me 'telly mommy' — 'Good luck telly mommy, and give Annie a slap from me.'"

You can see Nicol as Miss Hannigan in a new production of Annie, which is on stage now. The show runs until Sunday, June 3 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto.

Produced by Tayo Bero


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?