Downton Abbey rumor mill heats up as series 3 finale airs tonight on PBS!

As the Crawley family and those below the stairs that live to serve them bring series 3 to a close on tonight’s 2-hour finale of Downton Abbey on PBS’ Masterpiece series, rumors are already flying around the Internets as the cast begins filming this month on series 4 which is tentatively set for a Fall premiere on ITV1 and a 5 January, 2014 premiere on PBS.

More Shirley MacLaine and maybe Dame Judi Dench and/or Billy Connolly?

So far, creator/writer Julian Fellowes has hinted that he’d love to see the return of Shirley MacLaine as Lady Grantham’s mother, Martha Levinson, for another head-to-head matching of wits with the Dowager Countess. Early on, Dame Judi Dench admitted she was hooked on the series that stars friend and fellow Dame, Maggie Smith. There’s now even a Facebook campaign to try and convince producers to give her a guest role at Downton for series 4. Even Scottish comedian Billy Connolly has said he would be open to the idea of working on the show after having worked with Dame Maggie Smith in “Quartet”. “I’d love to work with her again, I’m not sure how I’d fit into the Downton world, it’s maybe not quite right but it would be a laugh I guess“, Connolly said.

Miranda heartthrob moving to Downton?

Now comes the most recent and intriguing product of the rumor mill. Tom Ellis, fresh off his 3 series role as Miranda’s dream hunk, Gary on Miranda, has auditioned and on the short list for a recurring role in series 4. Unfortunately, to even think about reporting on the role that Downton producers have in mind for him would require spilling some series spoilers for tonight’s series 3 finale so if you want to know, you’re going to have to search on your own. If you have to know quickly after you’ve seen tonight’s episode, you can click here to find out. Seriously, however, as great at this would be, I can only find this particular rumor from one source so it’s going to need just a bit more concrete substantiation before we should consider this to be a real possibility.

Whatever becomes fact or remains a rumor, I’m already getting the countdown calendar ready with a big red circle around Sunday, January 5, 2014 for the return of Downton Abbey 4 on PBS. Those lucky enough to live east of the Atlantic only have to wait until September. In the meantime, enjoy tonights series 3 finale and let us know what you think.

In: Actors/Actresses,Drama