New cast members for series five

Fans of Downton, prepare to rejoice, as we have exciting casting news for your very eyes.

Yes, a number of new cast members will be setting foot in Downton Abbey and joining our already stellar line-up of existing cast on set for series five.

Rather excitingly, acting stalwart Richard E. Grant is joining the show as Simon Bricker who visits Downton as a guest of the Granthams.

Anna Chancellor (most widely known for her roles in The Hour and Four Weddings and a Funeral) also joins in a guest role, playing Lady Anstruther. The BAFTA nominated actress comes fresh from her recent success in the West End, where she starred in Noel Coward's Private Lives.

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

– Downton’s Executive Producer, Gareth Neame

Internationally acclaimed actor Rade Sherbedgia will play a Russian refugee who has fled the Russian Revolution after the First World War, whilst Dame Harriet Walter will reprise her role as Lady Shackleton. Peter Egan will also return to Downton as Lord Flintshire.

We think it's fair to say that this is all very exciting news. Now quick, roll on series five!

Downton to return for series five

Ladies and Gentlemen, we're delighted to announce that Downton Abbey will be back for a phenomenal fifth series.

Audience figures for the fourth series have hit an average 11.8 million viewers – making it the highest rated drama on television in 2013.

Once again Julian Fellowes will be putting pen to paper as writer of the new series and will continue Executive Producing duties with Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge.

We promise all the usual highs and lows, romance, drama and comedy played out by some of the most iconic characters on television.

All the actors and makers of the show continue to be humbled by the extraordinary audience response and want to take the show from strength to strength next year.

– Gareth Neame, Executive Producer

Vote for Downton in the NTAs

Downton Abbey has been nominated for Best Drama at the National Television Awards.

But that's not all, the phenomenal Maggie Smith is also up for Best Drama Performance.

Voting has now closed - thank you.

Gary Carr casting news

We're delighted to announce that Gary Carr (Death in Paradise, Bluestone 42), has joined the cast of Downton Abbey.

Carr will play a jazz singer called Jack Ross, a charming and charismatic young man. He joins new cast members Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Dame Harriet Walter who are all set to star in the fourth series.