Comings and goings at 'Downton Abbey' next season - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Comings and goings at 'Downton Abbey' next season

Posted: Updated:
© This undated publicity photo provided by PBS shows Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson from the TV series, "Downton Abbey." © This undated publicity photo provided by PBS shows Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson from the TV series, "Downton Abbey."

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.

Last season the wildly popular melodrama, set in early 20th century Britain, was the most-watched series on PBS since Ken Burns' epic "The Civil War," which first aired in 1990. The Nielsen Co. said 8.2 million viewers saw the "Downton" season conclusion.

"Downton Abbey," which airs on the "Masterpiece" anthology, won three Emmy awards last fall, including a best supporting actress trophy for Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess), who also won a Golden Globe in January.

In all, the series has won nine Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the ensemble cast, which is the first time the cast of a British television show has won this award.

Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle are among its other returning stars.

___

Online:

http://www.pbs.org/downton

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Putting skateboards on the streets, not guns

    Putting skateboards on the streets, not guns

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:05:11 GMT
    Local law enforcement agencies will be banding together this weekend in an effort to take guns off the streets. 
    Local law enforcement agencies will be banding together this weekend in an effort to take guns off the streets. 
  • Judge orders trial for motorist accused in hit-and-run death

    Judge orders trial for motorist accused in hit-and-run death

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:04:34 GMT
    A motorist who allegedly took off after hitting a female transient in the middle of Interstate 5 near downtown San Diego must stand trial on a charge of hit-and-run causing death, a judge ruled Thursday 
    A motorist who allegedly took off after hitting a female transient in the middle of Interstate 5 near downtown San Diego must stand trial on a charge of hit-and-run causing death, a judge ruled Thursday 
  • SDSU men's basketball takes Ice Bucket Challenge

    SDSU men's basketball takes Ice Bucket Challenge

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:04:06 GMT
    The San Diego State University men's basketball team completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday. 
    The San Diego State University men's basketball team completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.