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ITV has announced that acclaimed American actor Paul Giamatti is joining the cast of Downton Abbey for the upcoming season’s Christmas special.

Paul Giamatti
Paul Giamatti, Courtesy of Karon Liu

The Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG award-winning Giammatti (John Adams, Sideways, Too Big to Fail) will play “Cora’s maverick, playboy brother Harold.”

He will star alongside Shirley MacLaine, who is reprising her role as Cora’s 20th-century-modern mother, Martha Levinson, and the regular cast members for the dramatic climax to Series Four.

Giamatti joins new cast members Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David, and Gary Carr, who are all set to star in the fourth series.

Said Gareth Naeme, Managing Director, Carnival Films:

“We’re excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith.

“We can’t wait to see him work alongside Shirley Maclaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham’s apple cart in this year’s Christmas Day episode.”

Downton Abbey: Series Four premieres in the U.S. on PBS’ Masterpiece: Classic on Sunday, 5 Janaury 2014.


Paul Giamatti Joins “Downton Abbey” Cast
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