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Betty missing from first Mad Men episode

Devoted fans of the drama series Mad Men and are there any other kind?) will have had the date in the diaries circled for months as the show returns to UK screens for its fifth series. They may have been disappointed that January Jones, who plays Betty Draper Francis, did not appear in the 2 hour series premiere.

Jones was absent from the filming because of the birth of her son Xander, although she did film some scenes before the birth. "It was really difficult," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "You're fatigued and emotional and I just sort of tried to channel that into the character," she said. "Luckily, Betty's sort of an emotional crackerbox, so it worked."

Series creator Matthew Weiner explained that it wasn’t a problem to work around Jones’s maternity leave. "We wanted to accommodate her," he said. "She has a very modern situation. Way more modern than Betty Draper. We accommodated her work life, and we're just so happy for her."

Weiner felt the current TV environment encouraged shows like his complex creation. "In one-hour drama, you're seeing some very rich choices," he told The Guardian. "You can afford to take more chances. It's like if you bake bread for a living and people have stopped their non-carb diets."

It might even be simpler than that. Mad Men is one of those rare series that appeals to women and men alike. They are seduced by the style, glamour and reckless freedoms of the period, when everyone could afford to drink and smoke to their heart’s content, without worrying about consequences.

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