While it may not be an event quite as historic as World War I or the sinking of the Titanic, some of us will never forget the Great Diddy “Downton Abbey” panic of 2013.
It all started innocently enough on Wednesday, when Diddy, the hip-hop star and mogul, began posting hints on his Twitter account that he had a big announcement coming. Then that afternoon he dropped the bombshell, writing in another post to his 8.7 million followers: “MY BIG NEWS: So happy to announce that Im a series regular on DOWNTON ABBEY-my favorite show+i’ll be debuting a sneak peek tonight 12am PST!” (He even replaced his Twitter avatar and background with the “Downton Abbey” logo.)
The apparent news that Diddy had joined the cast of this mannerly PBS “Masterpiece” period drama seemed absurd on face value, and yet it had the patina of plausibility. Diddy, under his given name, Sean Combs, has acted in projects like the 2004 Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” and its 2008 TV adaptation.
The producers of “Downton Abbey” have recently been making more efforts to add non-white actors to its ensemble. And when was the last time Diddy made a joke about anything?
While Diddy continued to retweet messages of congratulations from followers who believed he was telling the truth, the matter seemed to be at an end that same afternoon when press representatives for PBS and “Masterpiece” wrote in an e-mail: “So funny but it’s just not true. Really. It’s not true.”
Or was it?
True to his word, Diddy did later post a video, produced for the comedy website Funny or Die, in which he reiterates his claim that he has become a cast member on “Downton Abbey” (or, as he would have it, “Downtown Abbey”) and, in fact, has been with the series from the beginning.
What follows are a series of clips that insert Diddy, playing the previously unacknowledged “Downton” character Lord Wolcott, into familiar scenes with Lady Ethel, Thomas Barrow, Lady Violet and the whole gang. (Be forewarned that there’s also a bit of naughty language.)
So congratulations, Diddy. You did do “Downton Abbey,” in a manner befitting your own particular idiom, and no one was lying. Tune in next week when Kanye West appears on the finale of “Mr. Selfridge.”