Di's delighted at moving into nanny role at famous abbey
IT'S one of the biggest TV programmes in the world and a Port Talbot actress is now a part of it — Downton Abbey.
Di Botcher will be playing Nanny West, who's been brought in to help take care of baby George and toddler Sybbie at the big house.
And while she was tight-lipped on what happens in the new fourth series, which starts on ITV on Sunday, she couldn't be more thrilled.
"I am delighted, it's absolutely fantastic," said Di, who is best known as Auntie Brenda in Sky 1's Stella.
"It was like being in a film. I was delighted just to go for an audition.
"Then I picked up the phone to my agent one day and said, 'good morning' and she replied, 'it's about to be an even better morning when I tell you you're in Downton Abbey'."
But, despite her joy, Di, who has also starred in the likes of Little Britain and Bleak House, said she was full of nerves at the first script read-through.
"That was at Ealing Town Hall," the excited star said. "They needed somewhere big enough for everyone to fit in.
"There were around 200 people, including Julian Fellowes, the creator, and Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.
"I walked in and just thought, 'O my goodness, they are all here!' That was quite frightening, and they were all familiar with each other.
"Downton has been so successful, but everyone seemed so happy and proud of it."
The producers also asked Di to help pick children to play the part of George — Lady Mary's baby — and Sybbie, the deceased Lady Sybil's now 18-month-old daughter.
She added: "We found a lovely little girl Ava and George is played by twins Cole and Logan.
"They are with their parents right up until the moment action is called. Then I take them by the hand for the scene."
The series picks up six months after the tragic events following the birth of George, when his father, Matthew Crawley, died in a car accident. While the plot remains a secret, it is known that Mary is struggling to deal with her husband's death, leaving her family hugely concerned.
Di filmed her scenes at the beginning of the year. Most of the filming for the series takes place in Highclere Castle in Berkshire, but the "downstairs" servant scenes are filmed at Ealing Studios.
But even though it was a world away from Stella and the Welsh Valleys, Di took a piece of Auntie Brenda with her to Downton — her grey wig.
"They asked the Stella costume department if they could use my wig — but it looks nothing like Auntie Brenda's, they've completely restyled it," she added.
And while Di is known for her Welsh accent, she won't be a Welsh nanny in Downton — she's taken on an English accent for the part.
"Putting on the accent at the read-through was nerve-wracking," she said. "But everyone was really wonderful. I already knew Jim Carter, who plays Carson the butler, who came up to me and said, 'Miss B, lovely to see you', and Lesley Nicol, who plays Mrs Patmore she was lovely.
"It was a wonderful experience and I was really sad when it finished."