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Alfred Nugent

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Alfred Nugent
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Biographical information
Military career World War I Veteran
Physical information
Gender Male
Hair colour Red
Family information
Family Sarah O'Brien (aunt)
Sarah O'Brien's shell-shocked brother (uncle, deceased)
Mrs Nugent (mother)
Mr Nugent (father)
Sister
Affiliation
Occupation Chef in training

Second Footman at Downton Abbey (formerly)
Hotel waiter (formerly)
Army (formerly)

Loyalty Downton Abbey
Sarah O'Brien (formerly)
Mr Carson
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Matt Milne
"Oh, do pick him Carson and cheer us all up a bit. Alfred is nice, but he does looks like a puppy that has been rescued from a puddle."
—Lady Mary speaking to Mr. Carson about hiring the handsome footman James[src]

Alfred Nugent[1] was Sarah O'Brien's nephew who arrived at Downton Abbey in 1920 after Alfred's mother wrote to her sister asking her to help find Alfred a position there, which she did. He worked as a footman but lacked "a natural air of confidence and grace" that fellow footman Jimmy Kent had. Alfred replaced Thomas as footman, as Thomas had been moved up to become Valet to Lord Grantham in the absence of John Bates, who had at that time been wrongly incarcerated.

Biography Edit

Early history Edit

Alfred fought in the army in the First World War. After his discharge, he worked as a hotel waiter. It was while he was a hotel waiter that he first took an interest in cooking. He wanted to try out for a job in a kitchen, but his Aunt Sarah talked him out of it, persuading him to try for a job that would give eventual promotion to be a butler. He is also a follower of the Anglican Church. After his father's death in 1922, his mother goes to Crewe to spend time with her daughter, Alfred's sister.

Series ThreeEdit

When Carson began to lament the need for another footman, O'Brien put forward the name of her nephew Alfred, but Carson immediately dismissed this idea, as he had a society wedding to get through and didn't have the time to train a "hobbledy-hoy". O'Brien, however, went over his head to ask Cora, who consulted her husband when he was distracted. Later, Robert, who was having financial problems, decreed no new servants after learning from Thomas that Alfred had already arrived.

Upon his arrival, he was grilled by Mr Carson in the presence of Mrs Hughes, Thomas Barrow, Sarah O'Brien, and Daisy Mason. Carson believed that Alfred was too tall, as a footman should be no taller than 6'1", and he didn't think Alfred's experience as a hotel waiter was adequate, but as O'Brien said, Alfred already had the job so there was no reason for interviewing him. Alfred told Mr Carson; "I mean to try" to which Mr Carson replied; "as long as you do." He immediately started working, getting the car door and the luggage for Sybil Branson and her husband upon their arrival to Downton.

Alfred later admitted to his aunt, Sarah, that he felt nervous, but she told him not to worry. Thomas walked by, remarking Alfred had no experience. Alfred admitted Thomas was right, but Sarah told Alfred to ignore him, saying he was skilled and had a nice manner and that he was "not vain like Thomas." Violet Crawley remarked that she thought he was walking on stilts during one dinner, after asking him if he was really as tall as he was. Alfred worked in silver service at a hotel, before arriving at Downton Abbey. His repeating this serving style at Downton, trying to serve them rather than letting them serve themselves. This angered Mr Carson, because that style was never used in a private home.

Alfred took some of the duties of valet, when neither Carson nor Thomas would see to Tom Branson (the former chauffeur), not even to just see if he needed anything. Mrs Hughes said that Alfred would have to do it, even though Mr Carson said that he wouldn't know anything other than to clean shoes left outside the door at night (a hotel practice).

Alfred made many mistakes, but they were often not his fault. Alfred had come into a situation of rivals fighting for position. His aunt was determined to push him up to be a valet. She went to Thomas and asked him to help Alfred achieve the position of valet to Matthew Crawley. Thomas took this as a personal insult as he had to struggle for years. Later, Jimmy Kent arrived and was competing with Alfred for the job of first footman. Both of them gave him "help". Thomas pointed out a bottle to remove a spot, Alfred burnt a hole in Matthew Crawley's tail coat of his suit due to Thomas intentionally giving him the wrong chemical for cleaning (Episode 3.02). Later, Jimmy told him to put the serving utensils on the edge of the tray, which resulted in them falling into the dowager's lap.

When Martha Levinson arrived he took her hand to help her down from the car and ended up holding hands as she launched into an oration. At dinner, she joked with Alfred making him laugh. When the women discussed Isobel Crawley's work with former prostitutes, Martha told them not to give the address of the organization, as Alfred would be taking notes. She winked at Alfred making him smile, which earned Alfred a stern look from Mr Carson. Alfred began a bit of a romance with her personal maid, Miss Reed, who kissed him. After Miss Reed returned to America, Alfred admitted to Daisy that he still thought of her and that he liked the fact that she spoke her mind. Despite the fact that Daisy is partial to him, Alfred later takes a fancy to Ivy Stuart. [2]

Mr Carson did later start helping Alfred out, such as telling him which spoons are which. Carson later admitted that he respected Alfred, saying that he was good and willing, even if he was O'Brien's nephew. Jimmy later remarked that Carson favoured Alfred over himself.

One night Alfred walked in on Thomas kissing Jimmy Kent, the other footman, whilst he was asleep. He was shocked and his aunt Sarah, who was angry at Thomas for his treatment of Alfred and spreading a rumour that she was leaving, persuaded him to inform Mr Carson. Alfred didn't believe that Jimmy was a willing participant, but later phoned the police (on his own) after learning Jimmy had relented in letting Thomas have a reference. However, when Inspector Stanford arrived during the cricket match, Lord Grantham persuaded Alfred to say that he had been mistaken and that he had made the phone call when drunk.

Many times Alfred displayed an interest and talent for cooking, despite having displayed a total ignorance about food when Mrs Patmore served Edith Crawley's would-have-been wedding food for the staff supper. It is revealed that he originally wanted to try for a kitchen job, but that his aunt Sarah had talked him out of it. She told him that few men succeed in this career, most end up taking orders from some red-faced old woman. She believed that he needed to start the career route to being a butler. In the kitchen, he helped Ivy to chop, and proved that he knew how to whip mayonnaise after it had separated. He told Mrs Hughes at the Thirsk fair in 1921, while examining the spices at Jos Tufton's stall, that he knew cooking was "where I belong." She gives him some encouragement.

Series FourEdit

Alfred sends Ivy a Valentine's Day card in 1922, but she thinks Jimmy sent it. Alfred is not happy that Jimmy is playing with her affections, insisting Jimmy is only doing it to make him angry. He also fears Jimmy has a darker reason for pursuing Ivy. He keeps quiet when Ivy returns drunk from a pub with Jimmy, but also apologizes to Daisy when she thought her Valentine's card (which Mrs Patmore sent) was from him.

When his aunt departs in the middle of the night, he insits to Carson and the rest of the staff he had no idea she was going to to it. He calls his aunt a dark horse, which Mrs Patmore remarks no one will contradict.

Alfred-ritz-1-

Alfred with Arsene Avignon.

Alfred walked in on Ivy and Jimmy kissing in Downton's boot room after Daisy told him Ivy was there (but did not mention Jimmy even though she knew he was with her). Alfred had earlier learnt of a cooking contest in London where it could mean advanced chef training if one passed, and he began to consider it. Once he saw Ivy and Jimmy in the boot room, he felt he could never get over it and must leave.

He was given encouragement by Mrs Patmore, Mrs Hughes, and especially from Mr Carson, who praised him as a hard worker. Jimmy on the other hand was less than courteous, especially after Alfred received a letter informing him he was not accepted. Alfred was crushed, but Mr Carson urged him to keep working hard, not give up, and said that he deserved success.

Later however, one of the candidates who was chosen dropped out, and Alfred was selected to replace him. He bid his farewell to Downton, thanking everyone for being kind to him, and soon left for London. He later visits Downton again. He proposes to Ivy but she rejects him. However they part on good terms, and he also parts on good terms with Daisy, seeing now how much he hurt her and how good she had been to him while he was blinded by infatuation for Ivy. They agree to be friends.

By 1923 he is mentioned as working at the Ritz. Ethan Slade, valet of Harold Levinson, thinks of Alfred's achievements in conjunction with the "American Dream."

PersonalityEdit

Alfred-downton-1-
Upon arriving at Downton Abbey, Alfred admits he feels "quite nervous" and rarely feels good about himself early on. He tells Mr Carson on his arrival that he means "to try" to do a good job. Even Carson himself admits later that Alfred is a good worker, even if he is O'Brien's nephew.

But later, Alfred delights in being preferred by Mr Carson over Jimmy Kent and is a little like his aunt, Sarah O'Brien, being devious enough to deceive Daisy Mason into teaching him dancing just so he can impress Ivy Stuart, getting both Daisy and later Jimmy in trouble as a result.

He is quite easily influenced by others as his aunt talks him into complaining to Mr Carson about Thomas Barrow, when Alfred sees him kissing a sleeping Jimmy; and Robert Crawley pressures him into dropping the matter with the police when they come to Downton with questions about the matter.

When it comes to cooking, he can be quite focused, asking Mrs Patmore questions.

Before his departure from Downton, he expresses his gratitude to the family and Mr Carson, and desires to part on good terms with both Ivy and Daisy, expressing his guilt and regret to the latter for having not seen her true feelings for him.

Relationships Edit

Sarah O'Brien Edit

Alfred is quite close to his aunt. She often encourages him, but he is also easily manipulated by her when she attempts to ruin Thomas Barrow. O'Brien seems very protective of Alfred especially against the evil Thomas. However, their closeness does not go both ways, as shown when O'Brien does not confide in Alfred about her plans to leave Downton on the middle of the night. He is left as shocked as everyone else when her absence is discovered.

Daisy MasonEdit

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Alfred and Daisy.

Daisy is in love with Alfred and it is hinted that he acknowledges it. Daisy is also one the the people who always defend Alfred whenever he is look down by the other staffs. But Alfred does not seem to notice her feelings for him, instead having only eyes for Ivy, inciting Daisy's jealousy. Unfortunately he is not moved. He even tricks her into teaching him to dance without mentioning he is only trying to do so to impress Ivy (because she loves dancing), eventually getting her into trouble with Mr Carson.

Daisy helped him by giving him cooking lessons before he went to Ritz for the chef convention despite the fact that she is reluctant to see him leaves. But at the end, he was failed the test and Daisy is happy and glad that Alfred is not leaving Downton after all. Their bond is closer now and Alfred seems to trust Daisy. But he turns down an offer to observe her making an anchovy sauce for a fish meal after being rejected for the cookery course. Later he replaces a candidate who dropped out.

After his proposal to Ivy is rejected, Daisy avoids Alfred but is encouraged not to by her father-in-law, whom she went to see. When Alfred leaves again, he and Daisy part friends, and he apologizes to her a second time. He tells her now he fears he had been a fool, citing how good and true Daisy has been to him and how he failed to see it, suggesting he regretted not pursuing her.

Ivy StuartEdit

Alfred fancies the kitchen maid, Ivy, but his feelings are not returned. Ivy fancies another footman, Jimmy, who does not feel the same but will sometimes pretend to to irritate Alfred. Nevertheless she does entertain his feelings for her, accepting an invitation of his to go to the movies. He tries to insist to her Jimmy does not like her, but she tells him she wants to hear it from Jimmy. He is upset when he walks in on her kissing Jimmy in the boot room. He no longer fancies her after that and gives her the cold shoulder.

Later when he returns to Downton for his father's funeral, he proposes to Ivy but she rejects him. He later remarks to Daisy he was blinded by his infatuation for her. But they do part friends.

Jimmy Kent Edit

Jimmy and Alfred shared a friendly but competitive relationship. Although, sometimes it can become antagonistic when it comes to having the attention of Ivy Stuart, but the two still remains friends afterwards.

Jimmy however can still be rude and unpleasant towards Alfred, such as when Alfred sought to become a chef and later did not get accepted.

Charles CarsonEdit

Alfred is eager to do a good job when he first starts working at Downton, but Carson is not impressed by him. But when Alfred starts asking Mr Carson for help, he kindly gives it to Alfred. Slowly he begins to respect Alfred, praising him as a hardworker, and encouraging him not to give up and he will succeed. Carson clearly showed a preference for Alfred over the other footman, James. Though Alfred delighted in this favoritism in front of Jimmy, before he left for London he praised Carson for being a wonderful teacher.

Quotes Edit

"I mean to try Mr Carson."
—to Mr Carson upon his arrival.
"I've been well treated in this house, and I want you to know that I'm very grateful. Mr Carson has been a kind and wonderful teacher."
—to Lord Grantham on his departure from Downton Abbey.
"Daisy, I'm sorry if I've hurt you. You're a good person and you're going to make some man very happy one day, but I'm afraid it will never be me."
—on his goodbye to Daisy Mason.

Appearances Edit

Appearances and Mentions
   
Series 3 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
Episode 8
Appears
Christmas Special
Appears
   
Series 4 Episode 1
Appears
Episode 2
Appears
Episode 3
Appears
Episode 4
Appears
Episode 5
Appears
Episode 6
Appears
Episode 7
Appears
Episode 8
Appears
Christmas Special
Mentioned

ReferencesEdit

  1. Daisy mentions Alfred by name as "Alfred Nugent" in the 2013 Christmas Special and says he is working at the Ritz, thus confirming his surname.
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/9485702/Downton-Abbey-love-triangle-to-shake-up-life-downstairs.html

Start a Discussion Discussions about Alfred Nugent

  • How old is Alfred?

    8 messages
    • Where? I see where the series two script says he is "someone of fifty" which I would interpret as fiftyish or in his 50s, not necessarily exac...
    • They've expressly stated "Fifty" not "fifty one" or "fifty two" so as far as this wiki's references work, he's 50.

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