hellomagazine.comA host of new Downton characters will provide new heartache and drama for the Crawley family and their servants.
Character: Lady Mary Crawley
Actress: Michelle Dockery
Dowton's ice maiden is now a mourning widow with a baby. She's finding it difficult to bond with her son George after his father Matthew was killed in a car crash.
Her relatives want her to consider looking for a new husband to safeguard the family legacy.
Several suitors enter the picture. Will any manage to ease her desolate heart?
Character: Lord Anthony Gillingham
Actor: Tom Cullen
Dashing Lord Gillingham and Mary have history. They may rekindle the flame unless his fiancée the Hon Mabel Lane Fox has something to say on the matter.
Character: Charles Blake
Actor: Julian Ovenden
Another possible love interest for Mary.
He visits Downton in his role as a government adviser helping big estates back to economic health, suggesting drastic measures – much to Lady Mary's disgust.
Character: Lady Edith Crawley
Actress: Laura Carmichael
Dowdy Lady Edith has gone glam, exchanging her life as Downton's perennial spinster for a life in London as a newspaper columnist, with some serious flapper girl threads.
In the last series she resisted the charms of her married editor Michael Gregson.
Now Edith seems ready to let her heart overrule her head.
Character: Michael Gregson
Actor: Charles Edwards
Lady Edith's boss has been hiding a secret. His wife is in a mental hospital. Can he persuade her to give in to his charms?
Character: Lady Cora
Actress: Elizabeth McGovern
The chatelaine of Downton just wants to have fun after living through the war and the death of two beloved family members last series.
She'll be organising parties and trying to support her daughters in leading independent lives.
"Cora would definitely be horrified if she knew precisely what they get up to," says Elizabeth of her character.
Character: Robert, Earl of Grantham
Actor: Hugh Bonneville
With the death of his son-in-law, the Earl must once again shoulder the burden of Downton's future.
Not everyone agrees on how best to adapt to the 20th century.
He also has the task of comforting his grieving family.
More headache arrives in the form of Edith's romance with her married boss.
Character: Tom Branson
Actor: Allen Leech
The former chauffeur is mourning the loss of his wife Lady Sybil, the Earl's younger daughter.
They defied convention to be together but now she's dead following complications in childbirth.
He has named their daughter after her mother and christened her a catholic. Tom also has a new job as the estate's manager.
Character: John Bates
Actor: Brendan Coyle
Bates is back as the Earl's valet and is incredibly happy with his wife, Anna who spent series three proving his innocence of the murder of the previous Mrs Bates.
But a "new upset" is on the cards for the couple – one that Brendan says is "dark and powerful and will shake their world".
Character: Anna Bates
Actress: Joanne Froggatt
She has her husband back, but life isn't all married bliss just yet.
Character: Jack Ross
Actor: Gary Carr
Downton's first black character is a jazz singer from Chicago.
He will bring some race-related controversy to the drama by befriending Lady Rose MacClare, the rebellious great-niece of Dame Maggie Smith’s character Dowager Countess Violet Crawley.
Character: Lady Rose
Actress: Lily James
Lady Rose also shakes things up by impersonating a maid so she can join a servants' party.
Character: Jonathan Howard
Actor: Sam Thawley
The musician isn't the only man to catch Lady Rose's eye in the series. Her escapades allow the rebellious aristocrat to enjoy a dalliance with the handsome help.
Character: Violet, Dowager Countess
Actress: Dame Maggie Smith
The goings on this season will give Downton matriarch Violet plenty of material for her acid tongue.
She will certainly disapprove of the activities of the younger members of her family, starting with Lady Rose and Edith.
Character: Alfred Nugent
Actor: Matt Milne
Character: Jimmy Kent
Character: Thomas Barrow
Actor: Rob James-Collier
Life is not going that smoothly for under butler Thomas (right) who is still out to make trouble.
Character: Mrs Patmore
Actress: Lesley Nicol Character: Daisy Mason
Actress: Sophie McShera
In the kitchen Mrs Patmore (left) is fulminating about Lady Cora's introduction of an electric whisk. Her assistant Daisy (right) is more concerned about her love life which becomes tricky around Valentine's Day.
Actor: Jim Carter
Holding the house together with his usual impeccable standards is Carson. But a surprise revelation about his past comes to light exposing a chink in his stiff upper lip.