September 15, 2013

Downton Abbey Extras: Season 4: New Character Guide

Here is a little who's who guide to help us with the new cast appearing in Downton Abbey season 4.

Viscount Anthony Gillingham played by Tom Cullen (Episodes 3, 4, 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. Didn't he look so good in the trailer?!

Charles Blake - Julian Ovenden (Episodes 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 4, 6, 7, 8)
Charismatic Jack Ross is Downton Abbey's first black character. He is an American jazz singer from Chicago who works at the Lotus jazz 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 3 ,4)

No details have been released about the Duchess of Yeovil other than it is a guest appearance and she appears in episodes 3 and 4. Episode 3 is the episode where a party is thrown to help lift Lady Mary's spirits.

Dame Nellie Melba - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Episode 3)
Dame Nellie Melba was a real life, 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 Meduring the episode.

Baxter - Raquel Cassidy (Episodes 5 - 8)
Not much is known about Baxter other than she will be a member of the downstairs staff and she appears halfway through the series. Could she be a replacement for Edna who replaced O'Brien? We know Thomas brings a female on staff whom he has a history with, could this possibly be Baxter?

Green - Nigel Harman (Episodes 3, 4, 7, 8)
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."  Rumors are he's involved with shaking up Anna and Bates.

Nanny West - Di Botcher (Episode 1)
She is nanny to George Crawley and Sybbie Branson appearing in the first episode. That is all that's known.

Sarah Bunting - Daisy Lewis (Episodes 7, 8)
Nothing official has been said about Sarah Bunting. At first we thought she was going to be George and Sybbie's nanny but that does not appear to be the case. Photos from the set show her in the village carrying around books. Maybe she is the new school teacher? She was photographed with Tom Branson on two occasions, once out in a field with a couple of automobiles and another in the village when he is helping her pick up some books she has dropped. Could she help him heal his 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.

Sir John Bullock - Andrew Alexander (Episodes 3, 4)

Nothing official is known about Sir John Bullock butrumored casting notes said he is a "party loving cad" and they were looking for an actor who "must be able to act drunk."  He could be a party guest as the episodes he is in revolve around the party thrown to cheer up Lady Mary.

Sampson - Patrick Kennedy (Episodes 3, 4)

No details on who this character is but he appears in episode 3 (the party for Lady Mary) and 4.  He could be a staff member for one of the party guests.

Spratt - Jeremy Swift (Episodes 1, 6)

Nothing is know about this character other than what episodes he will be appearing in and his name, "Spratt".

Harold Levinson - Paul Giamatti (Christmas Special)
Harold Levinson is Cora's free-spirited brother. Reported to be a "maverick playboy" he will appear in the season 4 Christmas special alongside his mother Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine. He looked amazing in on set photos!

James Fox (Christmas Special)
Nothing is known about the character James Fox will be playing yet, including his name, but he appears in the series 4 Christmas special. He was photographed on set filming a picnic scene with Harold and Martha Levinson, the Dowager Countess and others. Maybe an old flame of the Dowagers? That would be amazing!


Edna Braithwaite - MyAnna Buring
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 5, 6, 7, 8)

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, 2)

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. No word on his storyline for this series but he is seen in the trailer with Mrs Hughes.

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 (Christmas Special)

Martha Levinson, Cora's mother, will be making another visit to Downton in the series 4 Christmas Special 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 NEXT Sunday, September 22 on ITV!  Or if you're in the US, January 5th on PBS.

Photo/information credit: ITV, Carnival Films, Nick Briggs, 

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