'Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery gets a 'Hollow Crown' upgrade

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michelle-dockery-newscom-325.jpg Zap2it: People know you best as Lady Mary on PBS' "Downton Abbey," but when "Henry IV, Part 1" and "Henry IV, Part 2," air on "Great Performances: The Hollow Crown" on Friday, Sept. 27, and Friday, Oct. 4 (check local listings), fans are going to get to see you do Shakespeare.

You play Lady Percy, the wife of royal rebel Hotspur ( Joe Armstrong), the rival to Prince Hal ( Tom Hiddleston), the heir to the throne. How did you like this screen husband?

Michelle Dockery: Joe Armstrong is great; he's gorgeous. He's brilliant in it.

Zap2it: Have you played the role before?

Michelle Dockery: I actually played Lady Percy onstage at the National Theatre. I understudied the part and went on years ago, like, back in 2004. It was amazing how the lines were still there in my head when I got the role. It all just came back to me. It's brilliant. So I didn't just slog away, learning lines again. It was all there.

Zap2it : Have you done other Shakespeare plays, such as "Hamlet?"

Michelle Dockery: It's a great play. I did it a couple of years ago onstage. I loved and hated playing the role of Ophelia. Jeez, it's a tough one. It's always the thing with Shakespeare, that everyone has an idea in their head how they think the role should be played.

Zap2it : Since you've played British royalty and nobility, is Dockery actually an English name?

Michelle Dockery: My dad's Irish. I'm Dockery, so we're quite a rare Irish family. We're from Athlone, right in the middle.
Photo/Video credit: Newscom