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Amy Nutall to appear in crime drama

Amy Nutall
Amy Nutall will be stepping out of her maid's outfit to appear in BBC dram By Any Means. Credit: PA

Downton Abbey star Amy Nuttall will be swapping Edwardian finery for a gritty crime drama on the BBC.

Filmed in Birmingham, By Any Means is about a clandestine group of cops who take on criminals while struggling to stay on the right side of the law themselves, with Nuttall playing "a hard hitting journalist".

Nuttall, who plays maid Ethel Parks on Downton Abbey said: "I'm so excited to be part of this gripping new drama.

Being on set with the fantastic cast and crew was really fun. My character is a hard-hitting journalist - very different from some of the other characters I've played - which was lots of fun."

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Golden Globe winner Giamatti to join Downton Abbey

Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti is set to join the cast of Downton Abbey, ITV has confirmed.

Mr Giamatti, best known for his appearances in Sideways and Cinderella Man, will play Cora's maverick playboy brother Harold in the Christmas episode.

Hollywood star Paul Giamatti will appear in Downton Abbey's Christmas episode. Credit: ITV

“We're excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play Cora's brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith," Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame said.

"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.”

He 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.

Downton creator found Christmas death scene 'testing'

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes revealed he found it "testing" to write Dan Stevens' character out of the series after the actor announced he was leaving.

Viewers who settled down to the Christmas special were shocked when Matthew Crawley was spectacularly killed off - just after his wife Lady Mary gave birth to their first child.

Fellowes admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that after the couple's long love affair, the only way to write him out was to kill him off.

Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley.
Lady Mary had just given birth when her husband Matthew Crawley was spectacularly killed off. Credit: ITV/Downton Abbey

But as Jessica Brown Findlay's character Lady Sybil had died just a few episodes earlier, the Downton creator did not want to dwell on Crawley's death.

"We knew Jessica was leaving from quite a long time before, and so we completely decided calmly to kill her off in the fifth episode, so that would give people three episodes to recover, and then we'd have the Christmas special ... so we had a whole episode of her dying", Fellowes said.

"But having done that, when the news came through that Dan was also leaving we couldn't very well do it again, so that was a bit testing".

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Rapper P Diddy's Downton Abbey 'appearance'

Following claims on Twitter, that he will be a "series regular" on Downton Abbey, music mogul and rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs has today released a spoof video.

Yesterday, Diddy, 43, caused a social media frenzy after he announced his "big news" that he was joining his "favourite show".

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MY BIG NEWS: So happy to announce that Im a series regular on DOWNTON ABBEY-my favorite show+i'll be debuting a sneak peek tonight 12am PST!

However, he cleverly wrote Downtown rather than "Downton" Abbey which he had mentioned in a previous tweet.

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I have to admit that Downton Abbey is one of my favorite shows- and thats why Im so excited today @downtonabbey

Many people took to Twitter to congratulate him on his "casting" on the British period drama, while others thought his account may have been hacked.

It prompted a response from a spokesman for PBS, who broadcasts the show in the US, who told Reuters the claims were "not true".

Julian Fellowes' Downton Abbey has been a huge hit Stateside, winning numerous accolades including a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award.

The fourth series is currently being filmed in the UK.

Downton return 'sure' for Shirley MacLaine

The creator of Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes is confident Shirley MacLaine will return to the show in the future. The Hollywood star played the Countess of Grantham's mother, Martha Levinson. Fellowes said: "She will come back, I'm sure."

Highclere Castle in Newbury where the television show Downton Abbey is filmed
Highclere Castle in Newbury where the television show Downton Abbey is filmed Credit: Press Assocation

Viewers will also see new mother Lady Mary Crawley as a widow after the shock death of her husband Matthew during the Christmas special:

"I was very, very sorry Dan left. I thought he did a terrific job for us, I think he's a terrific actor. But actually, nothing is harder to dramatise than happiness. When two people are happy, that's it.

"That's why in the old movies, they don't kiss and marry in the middle, they kiss and marry at the end, because in a way that's it.

"So now we've got Mary widowed, trying to control the estate, feuding with various other people about what the right way forward is, looking for a new life, dare one say it. All of that is really more interesting than two people sitting by the fire having a cup of tea."

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