Production has begun on the fifth series of Downton Abbey and a few well-known faces of British TV and film have joined the cast, with others reprising their guest-starring roles.
Known amongst Whovians as both the villainous Dr. Simeon/The Great Intelligence in the last series of Doctor Who and as the voice of The Doctor in the animated Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka, Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Withnail & I) joins the cast as Simon Bricker, who visits Downton as a guest of the Granthams.
BAFTA-nominated Anna Chancellor (The Hour, Four Weddings and a Funeral), who can currently be seen in the miniseries, Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, also comes to Downton in the guest role of Lady Anstruther.
And the internationally-acclaimed Rade Sherbedgia (24, Eyes Wide Shut, Snatch) plays Russian refugee Kuragin, who fled the Russian revolution after World War I.
Also returning to Downton Abbey are Dame Harriet Walter (Law & Order: UK, Little Dorrit), who reprises her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan (Paradise Postponed, Lillie), who reprises his as “Shrimpie,” Lord Flintshire.
Said Executive Producer Gareth Neame, “We are delighted to welcome these talented actors to the world of Downton. The characters they play are set to bring yet more excitement and intrigue to the show.”
And, of course, Downton‘s regular cast members — Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Rob James-Collier, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift and Andrew Scarborough — return for both the eight-part fifth series and 2014 Christmas special.
Will viewers tune in to Series 5 of Downton Abbey in even greater numbers than they did for Series 4, which had its strongest launch to date with 12 million viewers on ITV in the UK and an average 15 million on PBS in the US? Stay tuned…