Downton Abbey adds six to cast as Shirley MacLaine returns


Downton Abbey producers, Carnival Films and PBS’ Masterpiece announced yesterday that six new cast names will be joining the series when production begins later this month on series 4. The newest installment will also see the return of Shirley MacLaine, who reprises her role as Martha Levinson. Unfortunately, Downton fans will have to wait until the season finale before getting a chance to see the fur fly between Martha and the Dowager Countess.
 

Managing Director Carnival Films and Executive Producer Gareth Neame says: “Downton Abbey has seen many great characters visit the house over the years and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome the new faces that will be joining the regular cast of Downton in series 4. We hope audiences will be as excited about them as we are.” Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton added: “The addition of these characters can only mean more delicious drama — which is what Downton Abbey is all about.”

The new cast and characters will ‘officially’ include:

  • Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party
  • Nigel Harman as Green, a valet
  • Dame Harriet Walter as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager
  • Joanna David in a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil
  • Julian Ovenden as aristocrat Charles Blake
  • Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as a guest who sings at the house

UK and PBS viewers will likely remember Ovenden as having played Andrew Foyle, DCS Foyle’s son in <em>Foyle’s War</em>. Tom Cullen’s character may be ‘an old family friend of the Crawleys’ but be prepared for the fact that he’s also a potential suitor for Lady Mary Crawley .

Joanna David’s television credits have included The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Foyle’s War, Rumpole of the Bailey, Inspector Morse and an episode of Rosemary & Thyme. Harman, best known for his role as Dennis Rickman in the UK soap, Eastenders.

Grab your Downton Abbey countdown calendar, as of today, there are only a mere 307 days until the January 5, 2014 premiere of series 4 on PBS’ Masterpiece. I’ll be there, will you?