It was the cast and characters of “Downton Abbey” like we’ve never seen them before on the UK’s “Text Santa” television fundraiser event. Sure, Maggie Smith‘s Dowager Countess breaking a world ski record was only seen in one ridiculously awesome newspaper photo in the nine-minute video spoof, but the rest of the hilarious moments were captured on-screen
As an example, the Granthams discover that they could save $40,000 annually simply by learning to dress themselves.But of course, the family finds this idea absolutely absurd.
The short had a familiar plot, with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) learning he’s lost the family fortune … again. Wishing he’d never been born, he’s visited by “Absolutely Fabulous” star Joanna Lumley for a look at what life would be like had he never been born, a la “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Jeremy Piven shows up in this reality in his character from “Mr. Selfridge,” selling intimate undergarments to the women of the family, with Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) interested in a nice pair of heels.
As startling as the difference is in the upstairs world, it’s the strip poker going on downstairs that really sets Grantham off. Even worse, he discovers that his replacement is none other than George Clooney, the Marquis of Hollywood.
The entire family, including the Dowager Countess, is enamored with the new addition to the family. A single kiss from Clooney is enough to drop the Countess to the floor, while Thomas (Rob James-Collier) continues to be a sneak throughout both videos — though we learn that his terrible behavior is actually a part of his contractual obligations as a footman.
The show even pokes fun at itself with an appearance by creator Julian Fellowes. After Lord Grantham questions how his daughters could exist if he doesn’t, Fellowes says, “Don’t worry about that. Nobody cares.”
Also read: ‘Downton Abbey’ Renewed for Season 6
“But if someone eats a grapefruit with the wrong spoon, you go berserk,” Grantham questions him.
“Well, yes,” Fellowes responds. “But that’s cutlery.”
Related stories from TheWrap: