"Downton" starts this season as a smash hit in the US.
Hold on to your dinner jackets, people, because Downton Abbey is almost back on PBS. The fourth season of the show premieres this coming Sunday, bringing with it some exciting changes for the ever-troubled Crawley family and the other inhabitants of Downton. Here are just a few of the cliffhangers that need resolving this season.
Paul Giamatti in Downton Abbey.
The sudden death of solicitor Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) in a car crash at the end of 2012 Christmas special shocked viewers to the point where series creator Julian Fellows reportedly received some very threatening letters.
Downton Abbey has tied up its major stars as it heads into the fourth season.
Bosses behind the major British period drama Downton Abbey - which has also proved a huge hit stateside - have moved quickly to tie down the show's biggest stars in a bid to avoid another Dan Stevens-esque exit.
According to The Sun, stars including Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern have signed three year deals worth over £1 million each. The move was made to avoid another cast member leaving in the same way that Stevens did last year.
The 30-year-old, who played Matthew Crawley, was the ITV drama's major draw though left abruptly to pursue other interests. The actor is a keen fan of literature and has narrated several audiobooks including The Angel's Game, Wolf Hall and War Horse. In 2012, he was a member of the judging panel for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and is currently editor-at-large for The Junket, an online quarterly is co-founded.
Continue reading: Downton Abbey Hands Out Golden Deals To Avoid Dan Stevens Style Exits
Gary Carr appears to have ticked all the boxes for the role of Jack Ross.
Actor Gary Carr has been cast as the first black character on ITV's hugely popular series Downton Abbey. Exectuive producer Gareth Naeme said on Wednesday that the British actor would play Jack Ross, a jazz musician who will have a "recurring role" on the forthcoming season four.
Jazz was introduced to the Downton world in a brief scene in the last year, when Matthew Crawley rescued his niece from an after-hours club. News of the black character made headlines earlier this year, when casting notes were sent out to agents. It described Ross as "Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s. He's black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma." The note also said that whoever landed the role should "ideally be able to sing brilliantly," and added, "Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor."
It turned out that professionally trained Gary Carr ticked all the boxes. Since graduating from the National Youth Music Theatre of Great Britain, Arts Educational Performing Arts College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Carr has appeared in roles for the BBC and ITV and played the lead role in the Royal National Theatre's stage production of the Terry Pratchett novel Nation.
Continue reading: Downton Abbey Casts First Black Character, Has It Taken Too Long?
The updated cast means more drama, more intrigue and, well, more names to remember.
Downton Abbey is going to get a whole lot more complicated and interesting, with the addition of a host of cast members, including Gary Carr. Carr will play the period drama’s first black character, the charismatic jazz singer Jack Ross. The rest of the new cast-members’ names were also an exciting announcement, since the list includes stars like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Dame Harriet Walter, all joining the show for its fourth season.
Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame, said the following about the character of Jack Ross: “We are delighted to introduce another fantastic, dynamic character to Downton Abbey. His addition will bring interesting twists to the drama which we can’t wait for viewers to see in Series Four”.
We’re sure the viewers are excited as well, but we’ll all have to wait a while longer for the series to return with its next eight episodes later this year, as well as the highly anticipated Christmas special, of course. The new cast members will be joining Downton veterans Shirley McLaine Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter. It’ll probably enhance the show’s dynamic, of course, but we can’t help asking… how are we supposed to memorise every tidbit of intrigue between so many characters?