Carnival Films and ITV today announced a number of new cast members joining Series 5 of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning hit drama Downton Abbey.
Richard E. Grant (Girls, Dom Hemingway, Gosford Park and Withnail and I) is joining the cast as Simon Bricker who visits Downton Abbey as a guest of the Granthams.
Anna Chancellor also joins as a guest role, playing Lady Anstruther. The BAFTA nominated actress comes from her recent success in the West End in Private Lives, she is most widely known for her roles in The Hour and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Internationally acclaimed actor Rade Sherbedgia (Eyes Wide Shut, Snatch, The Saint and Taken 2) will play a Russian refugee, Kuragin who has fled the Russian revolution after the First World War.
Returning guest cast member Dame Harriet Walter will reprise her role as Lady Shackleton, along with Peter Egan, returning as Lord Flintshire.
Downton’s Executive Producer Gareth Neame, the Managing Director of Carnival Films, 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”
As well as filming an eight-part fifth series, Downton Abbey will return at Christmas 2014 with another feature length episode. The new series will feature our returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Rob James-Collier, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift and Andrew Scarborough.
In the U.K. Series 4 of Downton Abbey saw the strongest ever series launch, with 12 million viewers tuning in and an overall 40% audience share, and the series consolidated at 11.8 million across the run. Downton Abbey hit a new record high in the U.S. with its Series 4 opener, averaging 15 millions viewers, an increase of 39 percent from the series 3 opening episode. The show’s third series became the highest rating TV Drama in PBS’s history and reached over 24 million viewers, a 7 million increase on Series 2. Downton Abbey is now one of the highest rating shows on American television.