Polished Edge: Michelle Dockery of ‘Great Performances: The Hollow Crown
Q: People know you best as Lady Mary on PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” but when “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2,” air on “Great Performances: The Hollow Crown” on Friday, Sept. 27, and Friday, Oct. 4 (check local listings), fans are going to get to see you do Shakespeare. You play Lady Percy, the wife of royal rebel Hotspur (Joe Armstrong), the rival to Prince Hal (Tom Hiddleston), the heir to the throne. How did you like this screen husband?
A: Joe Armstrong is great; he’s gorgeous. He’s brilliant in it.
Q: Have you played the role before?
A: I actually played Lady Percy onstage at the National Theatre. I understudied the part and went on years ago, like, back in 2004. It was amazing how the lines were still there in my head when I got the role. It all just came back to me. It’s brilliant. So I didn’t just slog away, learning lines again. It was all there.
Q: Have you done other Shakespeare plays, such as “Hamlet?”
A: It’s a great play. I did it a couple of years ago onstage. I loved and hated playing the role of Ophelia. Jeez, it’s a tough one. It’s always the thing with Shakespeare, that everyone has an idea in their head how they think the role should be played.
Q: Since you’ve played British royalty and nobility, is Dockery actually an English name?
A: My dad’s Irish. I’m Dockery, so we’re quite a rare Irish family. We’re from Athlone, right in the middle.