With filming well underway for the fourth season of Downton Abbey, there have been several snippets of information released about new faces and possible story lines.
There was initial doubt that Dame Maggie Smith may not sign up for the fourth installment of Downton, but everyone can relax, the 78-year-old actress will be back as the Dowager Countess and has been seen filming already. It just wouldn’t be Downton without her.
Though Siobhan Finneran has announced she will not be reprising her role as Sarah O’Brien, the scheming Lady’s maid. She will not be killed off so fans can hold on to the hope she may decide to come back in the future.
The fourth series is to be set after the funeral of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) and will see young widow, Lady Mary, (Michelle Dockery) trying to rebuild life for her and her son after his tragic death.
There will be several new faces introduced this season, to add to an already impressive cast:
Tom Cullen will join the cast as Lord Gillingham. The character is described as “good looking, very charismatic” with a “perfect cut-glass accent. He’s warm and charming, but also a strong man with morals.” It is hinted that he could be a possible suitor to heartbroken Lady Mary.
Other new characters include Lady Shackleton, played by Harriet Walter, who is a friend of the Dowager Countess and has been described as a character that can hold her own against her old friend. I can’t wait to see those scenes!
Interestingly, New Zealand singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will make a rare television appearance with a cameo in the first episode. She will sing while she is a guest of the Crawley family at a party aimed to try and raise the spirits of the grieving Lady Mary.
Joanna David will guest-star as the Duchess of Yeovil, Julian Ovenden as “dashing aristocrat” Charles Blake, who is another possible suitor of Lady Mary.
Another character Sir John Bullock, has been announced although no actor is attached to the role as yet though the casting notes state he “must be able to act drunk.”
Downstairs, ex-Eastenders actor Nigel Harman will join the cast as a valet called Green and the show is set to introduce the first black character Jack Ross, as part of a story line about race relations in the 1920s. Jack Ross has been described as “a musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the ‘20s. He’s black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma… Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor.”
Other than a possible new relationship for Lady Mary, little has been revealed about the direction Julian Fellows will take for season 4.
With all the new characters it seems this season is going to be just as good as last.
Catch up with our Downton Abbey blog.