The upstairs stars of Downton Abbey will be joining the downstairs as some of the hit show’s actors turn serving staff on Sunday.
Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, writer Julian Fellowes, Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle are joining Samantha Bond as part of a stellar cast swapping stage and screen to become barmen and waiters at The Ivy, in an event designed to raise thousands for actors’ charities.
Punters paying £150 a head will get the chance of having performers also including Emilia Fox, Maureen Lipman Sheila Hancock and Imelda Staunton take their order — or even risk having them tip dinner in their laps.
Tyger Drew-Honey, the 17-year-old star of Outnumbered, who will be a waiter, admitted: “I’m not actually the best at carrying tea if I’m going up the stairs. But slow and steady wins the tip.”
Carmichael has just practised working below stairs as a servant in the film version of the French classic Madame Bovary, starring Mia Wasikowska, which is being shot in Normandy.
“All that bobbing — I’m very versatile,” she joked. “It’s much harder being downstairs. You’re in charge of all these props, ruining people’s dialogue as you’re clearing the plates.”
Carmichael has past experience as a waitress — “though I wasn’t very good”.
Samantha Bond is organising the event for Acting for Others, a group of 15 charities working for ill, injured or elderly actors and backstage workers.
“The thing about our industry is when life is good it’s very good and when life is bad, it’s hateful. If you’re unable to work there’s no back-up,” said Bond, pictured in the show, who used her 52nd birthday to promote the event.
Tickets, which include Tanqueray No. Ten cocktails, dinner and wine, are still available.
Owen Teale said he will be taking Tom Cruise in the film Cocktail as his role model for when he mans the bar. “I love cocktails,” he said. “But I’m very nervous about this.”
Fernando Peire, The Ivy’s director, said last year’s guest staff had been so good he considered giving them jobs.