Saturday, January 4, 2014

Downton Abbey Season 4: New Character Guide

Downton Abbey season 4 has a plethora of new characters. Here is a little 'who's who guide' to help us with all the new characters we will be seeing this season:

Viscount Anthony Gillingham played by Tom Cullen (Episodes 2, 3, 6, 7, 8)

Viscount Gillingham is Lady Mary’s childhood friend, Anthony Gillingham has weathered some of the storms that are breaking over the Crawleys and Downton Abbey, as he attempts to balance family expectations and the demands of the modern world. Engaged to the Hon. Mabel Lane Fox, his choice is perhaps more sensible than inspired, and meeting Mary again makes him start to wonder whether he may have given up on life too soon. Doesn't he look so good in the trailer?!

Charles Blake - Julian Ovenden (Episodes 5, 6, 7, 8)

Handsome Charles Blake is introduced to the Crawley’s by Evelyn Napier, who works in the same Government department. The pair are undertaking a study, to examine estates like Downton and others in North Yorkshire that may be facing difficulties in a changing society. When Cora invites them to stay at Downton, Mary assumes they will help her to secure Downton's future. However Blake quickly makes it clear that while he is examining the collapse of estates like Downton, he does not necessarily wish to prevent it. With Blake seemingly opposed to everything the Crawleys stand for, there is immediate antagonism between him and Mary, which promises to make his stay a bumpy ride.

Jack Ross - Gary Carr (Episodes 3, 5, 6, 7)

Charismatic Jack Ross is Downton Abbey's first black character. He is an American jazz singer from Chicago who works at the Lotus club in London where he meets Tom Branson and Ladies Mary, Rose and Rosamund. He is sure to shake things up at Downton. Possible love interest for Rose? They were seen on set taking a boat ride together.

Lady Shackleton - Dame Harriet Walter (Episode 1)

An old school friend of the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Lady Shackleton is said to be a “force to be reckoned with” who can “hold her own” against the Dowager's barbed wit.

Duchess of Yeovil - Joanna David (Episodes 2 ,3)

The Duchess of Yeovil is an old family friend of Violet's who makes a guest appearance in episodes 3 and 4. Episode 3 is the party thrown to help lift Lady Mary's spirits.

Dame Nellie Melba - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Episode 2)

Dame Nellie Melba was a real life, world famous Australian opera singer in the 1900's. She is invited to sing at the party thrown to help lift Lady Mary's spirits. She performs Giacomo Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro and Antonin Dvorak's Songs My Mother Taught Me during the episode. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, is herself, a world famous opera singer.

Baxter - Raquel Cassidy (Episodes 4 - 8)

Baxter, a member of the downstairs staff, appears halfway through the series. She has a history with Thomas and he is responsible for getting her the job. Could she be a replacement for Edna who replaced O'Brien?

Green - Nigel Harman (Episodes 2, 3, 6)

Green is Lord Anthony Gillingham's valet. Harman reports that Green "is very much a social animal and loves the people that are around him. He loves having a good time and a laugh and quite often palms off his work to other people so he can spend time hanging around." He also said that Green has no "redeeming qualities and will be stirring things up."  He has a very bad, dark side. Rumors are he's involved with shaking up Anna and Bates. Watch out for him.

Nanny West - Di Botcher (Episode 1)

She is nanny to George Crawley and Sybbie Branson appearing in the first episode.

Sarah Bunting - Daisy Lewis (Episodes 6, 7, 8)

Sarah Bunting  is the new school teacher in the Village. Could she help heal Tom's broken heart?

Virginia Woolf - Christina Carty (Episode 1)

Another real life character appearing in season 4. Woolf is a famous writer English writer from the 20th century. She appears in episode one and is seen in photos with Lady Edith and her editor Michael Gregson at what appears to be a party. If you blink you will miss her.

Sir John Bullock - Andrew Alexander (Episodes 2, 3)

Sir John Bullock is a guest at the party thrown to cheer up Lady Mary, where he catches the eye of Lady Rose. Rumored casting notes said he is a "party loving cad" and they were looking for an actor who "must be able to act drunk."

Terence Sampson - Patrick Kennedy (Episodes 2, 3)

Mr Sampson is a guest at the extravagant house party thrown for Lady Mary in episode 3.  He is an acquaintance from Lord Grantham's gentleman's club and a very good card player.

Spratt - Jeremy Swift (Episodes 1, 5)

Spratt is Violet Crawley's butler. Tensions arise between him and Mr Molesley.

Mr Drew - Andrew Scarborough (Episodes 4, 7, 8)

Mr Drew appears in three episodes this season. He is the son of a recently-deceased local tenant at Downton. His family has been farming the land in partnership with the Crawley's  for a very long time. 

Harold Levinson - Paul Giamatti (Episode 8)

Harold Levinson is Cora's free-spirited brother. Reported to be a "maverick playboy" he will appear in the season 4 finale alongside his mother Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine.

Lord Aysgarth - James Fox (Episode 8)

Lord Aysgarth played by iconic British actor, James Fox, appears in the season finale. Not much is known about this character but Martha Levinson and her son Harold make quite an impression on him. He was photographed on set filming a picnic scene with Harold and Martha Levinson, the Dowager Countess and others.

Madeleine - Poppy Drayton (Episode 8)

Madeleine, played by Poppy Drayton, is the daughter of Lord Aysgarth. She appears in the season finale.


Edna Braithwaite - MyAnna Buring (episodes 1, 2, 3)

She's baaaaack as Cora’s Lady’s Maid, replacing O’Brien. Her earlier flirtation with Branson took  Edna the housemaid into dangerous territory, but in the intervening months she has not been lazy. She has honed her skills as a lady’s maid, so when the opportunity presents itself to return to the Abbey, she cleverly manoeuvres herself into the position. Mrs Hughes and Carson are appalled. Ever scheming, Edna has an agenda and there's no doubt Branson will figure heavily in her plans. She appears in episode one but not sure how long she will last.

Evelyn Napier - Brendan Patricks (Episodes 4, 5, 6, 7)

He is an old Crawley family friend who first appeared in series one. He returns to Downton in series 4 accompanied by his colleague Charles Blake, with whom Mary does not get along. Napier and Blake are studying estates and how they are coping with the changes of modern society. I think it's funny that Napier is bringing another guest to Downton. You think he would have learned his lesson with Pamuk!

Charlie Grigg - Nicky Henson (Episodes 1)

Charlie Grigg is Mr Carson's former stage partner in The Charming Charlies. He first appeared in series one when he came to Downton on the run from a petty crime he committed and blackmailed Mr Carson into keeping him hidden. Then he went to Lord Grantham threatening to expose & embarrass Mr Carson. Lord Grantham gave him 20 pounds and a warning that if he was ever found in Downton again, he would personally see to that he was convicted for theft and blackmail. In this series he will help reveal more of Mr Carson's backstory.

Bill Molesley - Bernard Gallagher (Episode 1)

Sweet Bill Molesley is back. He is dancing feet Molesley's father and a prolific gardener who lives in Downton village. Do we all remember the Flower Show episode from series one? 

Martha Levinson - Shirley MacLaine (Episode 8)

Martha Levinson, Cora's mother, will be making another visit to Downton in the season finale along with her son Harold, played by Paul Giamatti. She is not afraid to go jab for jab with the Dowager Countess.

Downton Abbey season 4 premieres January 5th, 2014 on PBS!

Photo credit: ITV, Carnival Films, Nick Briggs.

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