'Downton Abbey''s Lady Mary poses with baby George

It won't reach UK screens until the Autumn, but excitement about the new series of Downton Abbey has already begun. A still from the hit period drama showing Michelle Dockery's character, Lady Mary Crawley, cradling her newborn son George has sparked anticipation in fans about what series four will bring.

Reports suggest that as well as baby George, six other characters will join the Downton cast. Lady Mary's husband Matthew Crawley, who died in a car accident at the end of 2012's Christmas episode, will be notably absent. Siobhan Finnerman, who plays Lady Grantham's maid Sarah O'Brien has also left the show.


New cast members include welsh actor Tom Cullen who takes on the role of Lord Gillingham, a potential suitor for the widowed Lady Mary and an old Crawley family friend who has known Mary since childhood. Foyle's War star Julian Ovenden, 36, is set to play the aristocratic Charles Blake and Former Eastender Nigel Harman also joins the Emmy-award winning show as a visiting valet named Green.

Maori soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is also set to feature in the show while fellow Dame Harriet Walter will star as Lady Shackleton, a friend of Dame Maggie Smith's character, the Dowager Countess. Dame Harriet, 62, is known for her roles in Sense and Sensibility, Babel and Atonement.



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