More casting news from the House of Grantham: Shirley MacLaine will be returning to Downton Abbey next season to reprise her role as American matriarch Martha Levinson, Lady Cora’s mother.
MacLaine’s return is one of many recent announcements coming out of the Julian Fellowes series. Yesterday we reported that actress Siobahn Finneran, who plays O’Brien from downstairs, will be exiting the show. And, of course, viewers are well aware by now that Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens — Sybil and Matthew, respectively — have already made their exits as well.
However, there will also be some new faces at Downton: The AP reports that Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Harriet Walter, Joanna David, Nigel Harman, and Kiri Te Kanawa will all be appearing in the British drama’s upcoming fourth season. The show will feature Cullen as Lord Gillingham, an old pal of the Crawley family; Ovenden will play aristocrat Charles Blake; Walter will portray Lady Shackleton, a friend to the Dowager Countess; David will guest as the Duchess of Yeovil; and Harman will take on the role of a valet named Green. As for opera singer Te Kanawa, she’ll be playing a singing houseguest, though further character details are limited for now.