Carter: No dates for Carson, Hughes

Jim Carter stars as butler Mr Carson in Downton Abbey

Jim Carter has revealed that Downton Abbey's staff Charles Carson and Elsie Hughes could not have a relationship, because they would have to give up their jobs.

The growing bond between head butler Carson and Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan) over after-hours chat has hinted at the burgeonings of a romance, but t he actor, who plays Carson, admitted that employees in the same house traditionally would shun any romance because they were dedicated to their jobs.

"I know a lot of people want Carson and Mrs Hughes to become romantically attached but whether that's on the cards or not, I've no idea," said the 65-year-old.

"I love doing the scenes with Phyllis Logan - the scenes between them both are very nice - but traditionally housekeepers and butlers didn't marry. They were traditionally bachelors and spinsters. So if we did get together, we would have to retire to a rose-covered cottage."

Jim, who is supporting Greenpeace's Christmas campaign, will reprise his role as Carson for the Downton Abbey Christmas special, which will see Shirley MacLaine return as Martha Levinson and Paul Giamatti as her son Harold.

"Shirley is marvellous," Jim revealed.

"Like Maggie Smith is a legend on this side of the Atlantic, Shirley is a Hollywood legend and she's a great dame. She'd be chatting like one of us. She's full of stories, full of fun and you think, 'That's Shirley MacLaine'.

"She immediately was one of the gang, which was smashing. We got on very well - she's a nice lady," he added.

:: The Downton Abbey Christmas special will be shown at 8.30pm on Christmas Day. Jim is supporting the Greenpeace Christmas campaign - see www.greenpeace.org.uk/savesanta.

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