"…Carlisle has known that Mary was attracted to him because he’s very rich, and very powerful, and she is bringing to the marriage her noble birth and her social position. He will enter a level of society, and more importantly his children will be born into a level of society, that he would not have been able to reach without her help. In a sense, Mary is the giver, because she could probably get another rich man to marry her if she didn’t marry Carlisle. But the revelation of her past and the fact that she is not undamaged goods means that, in a sense, he is now doing her a favour by going ahead with the arrangement, making it a much more equal exchange. When the series went out, the audience on the whole decided Carlisle was a villain, but I don’t agree. He’s quite straight-forward, and he always tells the truth with Mary. Nor is he in the least ashamed of his own origins. All of that, to me anyway, makes him quite an attractive fellow. Added to which, he is very successful, so he can’t be a fool." —Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey The Complete Scripts Season Two
“When the series went out, the audience on the whole decided Carlisle was a villain, but I don’t agree. He’s quite straightforward, and he always tells the truth with Mary. Nor is he the least ashamed of his origins. All of that, to me anyway, makes him quite an attractive fellow. Added to which, he is very successful, so he can’t be a fool.” —Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey: The Complete Scripts Season 2
“I was keen to have this moment. I didn’t wish to say goodbye to Carlisle in the library when he’s lying on the floor, looking dishevelled and ridiculous. We owed him, and Iain glen who played him more than that, and for me, what he says in this scene is true. I am quite sure that Carlisle loved Mary much more than she loved him. In fact, I suspect they would have done pretty well together if Matthew had never existed. For this reason, and for so many others, we were very lucky to get Iain Glen. He had the confidence not to shrink from the hard side of the character, but he never entirely lost your sympathy. At any rate, he never lost mine. I thought he got the whole characterisation absolutely spot on.” —Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey: The Complete Scripts Season 2
Carlisle represents, in a sense, the world that is coming. As I have explained, I’m not hostile to him. I’ve been accused of disliking him, but I don’t at all. His ways are not entirely compatible with the ways of the Crawleys, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like him. In fact, I admire people who have made the journey he’s made, but inevitably, when you have fought every step of the way, it beats all sentimentality out of you. Whereas the weakness of great families like the Crawleys is that they want to be liked, as well. So they’re terribly nice, with lots of ‘oh, nanny, you really must put your feet up,’ which is designed, although subconsciously for the most part, to present them as warm and caring people, when in actual fact their demands are no less stringent than those of Carlisle, and that’s what we’re contrasting here. —Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey: The Complete Scripts Season 2
“In my opinion, Lady Mary and Sir Richard would have been rather well-suited. They’d have had quite a sparky time together. ” —Iain Glen
Thirty-fourth Page - Downton Abbey Engagement Calendar 2013
Sir Richard: I want you to marry me.
Sir Richard: Because I think very highly of you.
Mary: “Very highly?” Goodness.
Happy Birthday, Iain! Thanks for making Sir Richard Carlisle one of the most memorable characters on Downton Abbey.