Richard E Grant to join cast of Downton Abbey

Withnail and I star Richard E Grant is joining the cast of ITV1's Downton Abbey, as Simon Bricker, a guest of the Grantham family.

Withnail and I star Richard E Grant is joining the cast of Downton Abbey. Credit: PA

His appearance in the hit period drama marks the actor's second collaboration with its creator Julian Fellowes - he previously starred in the writer's 2001 film Gosford Park, also alongside Maggie Smith, who plays Downton's formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham.

The cast of Downton Abbey Credit: ITV

Four Weddings and a Funeral star Anna Chancellor also joins the cast as Lady Anstruther, while 24 actor Rade Sherbedgia joins as a refugee, Kuragin, who has fled the Russian revolution after World War One.

The show's executive producer Gareth Neame said: "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."