Saturday, March 2

Julian Ovenden and Nigel Harman to join Downton Abbey

Filming began this week for the fourth series of Downton Abbey which rejoins the family six months after the funeral of Matthew Crawley, with his grieving widow still in shock at his sudden death and struggling to bring up their baby son alone.

The producers have just revealed there will be six new characters for the coming series including a world-famous opera singer (Dame Kiri de Kanawa), a sharp-witted schoolfriend of the Dowager Countess(Dame Harriet Walter) and a dashing aristocrat who befriends the grieving Lady Mary.

Two handsome young aristocrats played by Julian Ovenden and Tom Cullen will pay a visit to the stately home with producers dropping strong hints that one will attempt to mend Lady Mary’s broken heart.

Tom Cullen will play Lord Gillingham, an old family friend who first appears at a family party where Dame Kiri is performing.

Actor, West End and Broadway star Julian Ovenden plays aristocrat Charles Blake.  He certainly has the right pedigree for the part as an  an Old Etonian and Oxford graduate who sang for the Queen at her last birthday at a soiree at Andrew Lloyd Webber's stately home.

The servants will be joined by a “charismatic” new valet named Green played by EastEnders actor Nigel Harman. He is probably best known for playing Dennis Rickman (murdered husband of Sharon) in EastEnders as well as appearing on the West End stage as the dim witted and vertically challenged Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical.

Downton Abbey has already won nine Emmys, two Golden Globes, and a Screen Actors Guild Award will be back on ITV in September.

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