Posted by: coastcontact | March 2, 2013

Comings and goings at ‘Downton Abbey’ next season

This might make you unhappy if you are a fan of Downton Abbey.  Telling you what is to come might ruin the anticipation.  Like “Who shot JR?” on Dallas, revealing the next season does not add to the fun.  This was posted on an AP story.  Don’t read it if you don’t want to know!

By FRAZIER MOORE
From Associated Press

March 02, 2013 8:46 AM EST

Dan Stevens Michelle Dockery,NEW YORK (AP) — Shirley MacLaine will be returning to “Downton Abbey” next season, and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa is joining the cast.

MacLaine will reprise her role as Martha Levinson, Lord Robert Crawley’s freewheeling American mother-in-law, Carnival Films and “Masterpiece” on PBS said Saturday. MacLaine appeared in episodes early last season.

New Zealand-born soprano Te Kanawa will play a house guest. She will sing during her visit.

Other new cast members and characters include:

-Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, described as an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party (and who might be the one to mend Lady Mary Crawley’s broken heart).

-Nigel Harman will play a valet named Green.

-Harriet Walter plays Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager Countess.

-Joanna David will play a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil.

-Julian Ovenden is cast as aristocrat Charles Blake.

“The addition of these characters can only mean more delicious drama, which is what ‘Downton Abbey’ is all about,” said “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton.

Meanwhile, the producers have confirmed that villainous housemaid Sarah O’Brien won’t be back. Siobhan Finneran, who played her, is leaving the show.

These announcements come shortly after the third season’s airing in the United States. It concluded with the heartbreaking death of popular Matthew Crawley in a car crash, leaving behind his newborn child and loving wife, Lady Mary Crawley.

Matthew’s untimely demise was the result of the departure from the series by actor Dan Stevens, who had starred in that role.

The third season also saw the shocking death of Lady Sybil Branson, who died during childbirth. She was played by the departing Jessica Brown Findlay.

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