In a bit of a different role than viewers are used to seeing her in, Sue Johnston trades in her matriarch status in The Royle Family and Coronation Street for the role of Denker, lady’s maid to Dame Maggie Smith’s Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, in the just-around-the-corner series 5 premiere of Downton Abbey. In her new role, the 70-year-old actress will mercifully take over from poor Mr. Molesley, who had the unfortunate task of looking after Lady Grantham in the absence of a maid in series 4.
The former Waking the Dead star will not be alone when it comes to new inhabitants of Downton. Johnston will also be joined by Richard E. Grant and Anna Chancellor in the upcoming trials and tribulations of the Crawley family. Chancellor, known for her roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Hour and Fortysomething, will play the Dowager Lady Anstruther while Grant will leave Minty behind and attempt to dial up his best Simon Marchmont when he joins Downton as house guest, Simon Bricker. Series five will also feature 24 star, Rade Sherbedgia, as a Russian refugee who has fled the revolution after World War 1.
While American audiences will have to wait just a bit to see if the Dowager Countess has met her acerbic match in Denker given the PBS broadcast has been set for some time with a Sunday, January 4, 2015 premiere, the rumor is the new series of Downton Abbey will hit UK telly’s this Autumn on Sunday, 14 September.