A little bit of Downton Abbey is coming to the fantasy world of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and it’s being brought over courtesy of the U.K. series’ Lesley Nicol. Known for playing Mrs. Patmore on Downton Abbey, Nicol will be adding her charm and warm smile to the usual gloomy settings on Once. I am genuinely excited by the idea of having someone who actually looks like they might not be entirely depressed and broken. Of course, we don’t really know anything about who Nicol will be playing so she could very well be portraying someone just as rapped up in the disasters of Storybrooke and the fairytale lands.
The news of Nicol’s casting came about thanks to Once Upon a Time star Josh Dallas – you might know him better as Prince Charming, or just David – who tweeted “As a Huge #DowntonAbbey Fan I’m very excited @lesley_nicol is coming to #OnceUponATime!” Nicol responded in kind, saying, “I am looking forward to it!! See you all soon.” While we don’t know exactly which character Nicol will be playing, we were given a hint to drum up some speculation: she has a special connection to the Snow White family. Now, this kind of hint could mean just about anything, but I’m willing to bet she’s some kind of familial relation to Snow, or at least was very close to her when she was younger, or perhaps close to her father. She might even predate Snow’s birth. Maybe she could be Snow’s grandmother. That would be neat, I think. Now we just need to know if she’ll appear in Storybrooke, in the cursed fairy tale land, or in a flashback.
Her time on the sets of Once Upon a Time will not affect her appearances on Downton Abbey. Nicol won’t be returning to film Downton until February, so she has plenty of time to wrap up her work on Once before hopping back across the pond.