Tuesday 18 December 2018

'Who do you think you are?' - Downton Abbey actor tells Late Late Show the first thing Maggie Smyth said to him while filming show's movie

Allen Leech on the Late Late Show
Allen Leech on the Late Late Show
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech has been busy in London recently filming the movie version of the show.

The star jetted into Dublin with his fiancée Jessica Blair Herman to speak on the Late Late Show about his latest career movements.

The actor described to Tubridy what happened when he met his old co-star Maggie Smyth again for the first time since they last worked together on the series.

“It was great. It was mad being back with the same heads that you were hanging around with for six years.”

“The first thing Maggie Smith said when I saw her was ‘I hear you’ve moved to LA, who do you think you are?,’ he joked.

“Six years of doing a show like that, and the fact that it was so loved and taken into people’s homes and hearts around the world, not just in the UK or even here, we had a great bond, when we weren’t making the show, we were out on the road selling it, so we’re like a family.”

“So coming back, the same jokes, the same stuff happening on set.”

The Irish actor, who now lives in LA, said he and Jessica will marry in January in Santa Barbara in California. 60 of Leech’s family and friends will travel over for the celebration.

“We met in LA at a party. She was dancing, it was an 80s themed party that we were at.”

“I said after a couple of weeks being in LA, ‘I’m going to my cousin Oisin’s wedding, do you want to come,’ and we took five weeks, and we did the whole Wild Atlantic Way, hardly knowing each other in any way shape or form.”

Leech joked that Jessica won over his heart when she drank 12 pints at his cousins wedding.

Meanwhile, Leech talked about one of his career highlights so far, which was meeting Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House.

“[Americans] They’re crazy for it. We got a call when we were doing the press tour in New York, do you want to go to Washington, there are some people that want to meet you there.”

“Suddenly we were going into the White House to meet Michelle Obama.”

“Having met her and had a good time, we got a call to say do you want to go to a dinner at the White House correspondents’ dinner, and we were in a queue suddenly to go and meet President Obama, and Michelle again.”

“I walked up and said Mr President, ‘absolute pleasure, when you were in Ireland in was wonderful, ‘Is Feidir Linn’, it was hilarious’… And he just stared at me, and he went ‘I think my wife’s a fan’, so [he] basically like moved me on down the line,” Leech laughed.

Leech’s new show Doing Money, in which he plays a detective who uncovers a prostitute trafficking ring in Belfast, airs tomorrow night at 9.30pm.

“It’s a true story about a girl called Anna from Romania, who was working as an au pair, and got snapped off the streets of London by a gang.”

“The first thing they said was her home address, and who lived there back in Romania (her mother), and they said if you try to leave, we’ll kill her.”

“And she was brought into the sex trade, she was trafficked to Belfast and forced into the sex trade.”

“The problem is that as soon as the brothels pop up, they close down.”

Leech plays Detective Constable W Grant, head of the trafficking unit, in the show.

“They go in, they disrupt that brothel, but unless that woman says ‘I’m being trafficked, I need your help,’ they can’t actually do anything.”

“And none of them are going to do that because they’re so afraid for their families.”

“So that’s what the story is about… it’s a true story of this woman called Anna, she’s the only one who’s brave enough in the end to come forward and say ‘I need your help’.”

“To be part of this story and to try and get it out into the public domain and spoke about is… [an honour].”

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