Dame Maggie Smith vs Shirley MacLaine in Downton Abbey series three - video

There'll be a tense atmosphere at Downton this autumn if these new teasers are anything to go by...

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Dame Maggie Smith vs Shirley MacLaine in Downton Abbey series three - video
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Tom Cole

Ooh, get her! Dame Maggie Smith’s at her most waspish in these two new trailers for Downton Abbey’s third series, both of which suggest that the on-screen relationship between Smith and American actress Shirley MacLaine will be something for fans of withering put-downs to savour.

MacLaine joins the period drama's cast this season as Cora Crawley’s mother, Martha Levinson, and she recently promised fans of the show that they can expect to see “a little sparring” between Martha and Crawley matriarch Violet (Smith) when the drama returns to TV later this year.

Speaking to the Daily Mail earlier this month, MacLaine said: “We do a little sparring but it’s more sophisticated and adult. My character is really trying to explain to her that you really must grow up and out of this addiction to tradition because this is what got you into the world war.”

As well as the bickering between Martha and Violet, Julian Fellowes recently revealed that the show’s third series will see various members of the Crawley family getting into financial difficulties and explore the influence of the Irish Troubles on the family’s life.

Downton 3 will be back on ITV1 in Britain over the autumn, and will begin airing in the States on Sunday 6 January 2013.

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