Why is Matthew Goode not in Downton Abbey 2? Henry Talbot's absence explained

a close up of Matthew Goode and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey

Fans who have seen the trailer or new film are wondering why Matthew Goode - aka Lady Mary's husband Henry Talbot - doesn't appear in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

The Crawley family are back on our screens and bringing further drama to audiences in 2022 thanks to the release of the second Downton Abbey film. The much anticipated movie sees the beloved characters leave Downton for the South of France, after Dowager Violet Crawley learns she has inherited a villa over there. But under what circumstances was this generous gift received? Meanwhile, Lady Mary welcomes a Hollywood film crew and cast to Downton to shoot a movie. The experience proves to be one full of ups and downs and sees both narratives transport the family and their home into "the new era".

Newly engaged Michelle Dockery - who recently appeared in Netflix's Anatomy of a Scandal - is back as Lady Mary for the latest installment. But eagle-eyed viewers may notice that her husband played by Matthew Goode is not in Downton Abbey 2. We explain his reasons for not returning and how the movie covers his much-missed absence.

Why is Matthew Goode not in Downton Abbey 2?

According to Matthew Goode, scheduling conflicts meant he was unable to return as Henry Talbot in new movie Downton Abbey: A New Era. The 44-year-old was busy shooting new series The Offer and so wasn't available to film scenes for Downton Abbey 2.

"No, I was shooting this," Goode told ExtraTV, when asked if he would be in the second Downton movie.


The Offer is a biographical series that focuses on the making of Francis Ford Coppola's cult film The Godfather. In it, Matthew plays producer Robert Evans, who was head of production at Paramount when the movie was made.

Where is Matthew's Goode character Henry Talbot in Downton Abbey 2?

In Downton Abbey: A New Era, Lady Mary explains that her husband Henry Talbot is away travelling the world and racing cars. This makes sense as Henry was previously a professional racing car driver who later retires and sets up Talbot and Branson Motors with brother-in-law Tom Branson.

With Henry away there's rumours of a new love interest in store for his wife. But will Lady Mary betray her husband?

Matthew Goode and Michelle Dockery

Credit: ITV

Audiences are introduced to suave movie producer and director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) in the second film. He arrives at Downton to appear in the movie being filmed at the house. Alongside fellow Hollywood stars Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock).

In the trailer for Downton Abbey 2 we see an intimate exchange Dancy’s character and Lady Mary: "There’s trouble in paradise," he tells her. To which she replies: "You don’t need me to tell you that marriage is a novel full of plot twists along the way."

Actor Hugh Dancy got a grilling from This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield about a possible love triangle in Downton Abbey 2.

"There's lots of rumours about what else he might be interested in at the house and whether one of those things might be Lady Mary! What can you say? Nothing I presume?" Holly asked Hugh.

A chuckling Hugh replied: "You've said it all! How can I put it… Lady Mary stays around as he starts the process of making this film, which is incredibly disruptive… so everybody is very nervous. Lady Mary stays around to keep an eye on us and kind of by default becomes my co-producer and partner in crime, she's very efficient."


Co-host Phillip then asked if Lady Mary's husband was still away. To which Hugh teased: "Her husband is still away, yes. Which helps when you're making a film."

Henry and Mary married during the summer of 1925, in season 6 of the show. He becomes stepfather to Mary's son George Crawley (Matthew Crawley's son). And two years after their nuptials the couple welcome a daughter together called Caroline.

When did Matthew Goode first appear in Downton Abbey?

Matthew Goode first appeared as Henry Talbot in the 2014 Christmas special. He was later promoted to a main cast member in seasons 5 and 6 of Downton Abbey - as his relationship with Lady Mary heated up.

The British actor also appeared in the first Downton Abbey film. However, his role wasn't a prominent one, with viewers only seeing him as Henry at the end of the film. Explaining his absence, he tells people that he has just returned from a business trip.

When does Downton Abbey 2 come out?

Downton Abbey: A New Era is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 29 April. The film was originally scheduled to come out in December 2021 but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans of the show will only be able to watch the second film in cinemas. As it is not being made available to stream online.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.