Michelle Dockery thought someone was just being kind when she was handed a gift in Jordan.

The British actor has made her name starring as Lady Mary Crawley in British period drama Downton Abbey. Although the TV show is broadcast all over the world, Michelle still forgets that she has fans cross the globe.

"I was in Jordan doing an appeal with Oxfam and I had a day being a tourist. I was in a cathedral and someone gave me a gift from the gift shop. I thought, 'Oh, this is nice, they're handing out gifts,' but it was because they recognised me from the show," she laughed to British magazine Hello! "I really wasn't expecting that but it seems to be popular all over the world. Something has just clicked with people, though it's very hard to pinpoint what exactly it is."

Lady Mary has been through a lot in the show, including losing her husband Matthew who was played by Dan Stevens. The audience has seen her battling her grief, but Michelle insists season five will be a fresh start for her. She's looking forward to dipping her toe into new emotion with Mary, praising writer Julian Fellowes for how he has handled her.

"I love that she's a complex woman. She's a modern woman in spite of the period," Michelle said. "I love it that she can be very kind. I love it that she can be very mean. She's very human. She has many qualities that I love playing and I'm always second guessing it when Julian and the writing and it's never what I expect it to be. So it's constantly a surprise and a challenge for me."