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Famous folks poking fun at themselves is always entertaining, and key members of the cast of ITV’s Downton Abbey spoofing their own show in a comedy sketch for a good cause is sure to be a favorite – or should that be favourite? – of the 2015 holiday season. Lord Grantham, Lady Edith, and Isobel Crawley sat in as American Idol-style judges as a stream of hopefuls came to the Abbey to audition for the role of Santa Claus. Although plenty of familiar Downton faces popped into the audition room, the real stars were the real-life celebrities who swung by to try out for a part. Check it out!
The ten-minute sketch plays like a showcase of famous Brits, ranging from Warwick Davis to bleeped-out chef extraordinaire Gordon Ramsay. The star-studded cast of the Downton Abbey Text Santa sketch is a solid follow-up to last year’s venture that featured George Clooney in a Christmas Carol-esque featurette of just what might have befallen the Abbey if Lord Grantham had never been born. On the whole, however, Mr. Carson’s jolly appearance as Father Christmas in the 2015 clip may just have been heartwarming enough to eclipse the fun of the 2014 Clooney-fest.
This year’s sketch is particularly enjoyable because it is just so very…well, British. Harry Potter had representatives with both Warwick Davis and Jim Broadbent, Doctor Who had a presence in Penelope Wilton, and the upstairs and downstairs of Downton alike were featured on screen. Of course, the long-winded monologue filled with Cockney slang may have been a bit too British for folks on the American side of the pond to get too many laughs out of it, but it's perfect for the target audience. After all, Americans aren't going to be the primary people donating to the Text Santa ITV charity appeal.
Text Santa is ITV’s annual charity drive that makes it almost too easy for Brit viewers to donate. A simple text is a pledge to contribute to a fund that will be split between MacMillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK, and Save the Children.
The 2016 Text Santa presentation from the crew at Downton Abbey will sadly be the last to air while the show is still producing new material. The end is sadly nigh for the series, but at least our wait for our last glimpse of the Crawleys and Co. at Downton will be somewhat funnier now that we have the Text Santa sketch to rewatch. Who knows? Depending on how the series ends, we may need the sketch to cheer us up after that final installment. The series finale of Downtown will air on Christmas Day on ITV, and the sixth and final season will begin its run on PBS on January 3, 2016.