Why we love Jessica Brown Findlay
Downton Abbey is fast becoming a British National Treasure, like Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, scones and clotted cream, and post-Imperial self-entitlement – of course, we pretend not to watch it (and we'd never put it on if it was just us in the house) but if our a) girlfriend or b) mum has tuned in, it's hard not to get drawn in by the highs and lows of mansion life. One of the reasons we're so drawn in is the wonderful Jessica Brown-Findlay, who plays Lady Sibyl Branson.
Lady Sibyl is a revolutionary firecracker of a woman, far ahead of her time, who's into all sort of cool things like votes for women, patching wounded soldiers together, getting off with socialist chauffeurs (and then marrying them despite the wishes of your family), and whacking great blue trousers. We like a woman in whacking great blue trousers. Dunno what that says about us.
Jessica Brown-Findlay is more than just her character, though, obviously. Her career started out in ballet, but thanks to botched ankle surgery, she was told she could never dance again – tremendously crushing, no doubt, for a young woman who'd just spent two years learning how to do exactly that. But ballet's loss was our gain, and she kicked off a career in acting – after a couple of appearances on E4's premier deliquent superhero drama Misfits and a film called Albatross (in which she was apparently excellent, even if the film itself didn't do so well), she made it on to Downton Abbey and did pretty well for herself.
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