Downton Abbey series 4: meet the new cast members

From Tom Cullen and Julian Ovenden to Nigel Harman and Daisy Lewis, here's your guide to the new faces arriving in Downton when it returns

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Downton Abbey series 4: meet the new cast members
Written By
Ellie Walker-Arnott

Downton Abbey is poised to return to our TV screens. And the new series is bringing with it a whole new host of fresh faces.

The introduction of these Downton Abbey newbies seems only right after we lost so many familiar faces during series three. But who are they?

Here's our guide to the new characters you'll meet in series four...


Tom Cullen, Lord Gillingham, Downton Abbey series 4

Tom Cullen 

Who is he playing?

The dashing Viscount Anthony Gillingham. A friend of the Crawley family (where has he been all this time, eh?) who is set to make his appearance in series four. He's already engaged (boo!) but Mary's childhood friend might be about to fall for someone else... Perhaps he'll warm Mary's broken heart? He certainly looks capable of warming ours.

Where do you recognise him from?

The 28-year-old Welsh actor played hunky Wulfric in World Without End. He has also made an appearance in Black Mirror and will star in upcoming films Last Days on Mars, Desert Dancer and Tiger House.


Julian Ovenden, Charles Blake, Downton Abbey series 4Julian Ovenden 

Who is he playing?

What? Another potential love interest for Mary? Lucky lady. Dishy Charles Blake accompanies Evelyn Napier on a visit to Downton Abbey. The pair work for the same government department and come to stay at the Abbey while conducting a study into how estates like Downton are struggling in their changing society.

Apparently him and Mary immediately take a disliking to each other. And with friends like Napier he'd be wise to worry. Do you remember what happened to poor Pamuk, Napier's last traveling companion? Let's hope the same fate doesn't befall him...

Where do you recognise him from?

Ovenden has starred in Smash, Any Human Heart, Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War, Poirot, The Royal, The Forsyte Saga and Charmed. The 36-year-old Eton and Oxford graduate is also a Broadway and West End star who's released an album... Phew.


Gary Carr, Jack Ross, Downton Abbey series 4Gary Carr

Who is he playing?

Downton Abbey's first black character Jack Ross. He's a jazz musican who is set play play at the Abbey. And potentially a love interest for Lady Rose. That's just us speculating though...

Where do you recognise him from?

You probably recognise the 26-year-old actor, musician and dancer from recent roles as Fidel in BBC1's Death in Paradise, or Millsy in Bluestone 42. He's also appeared in Inspector George Gently, Silent Witness, Holby City and Law and Order: UK, though. Been busy hasn't he?


Nigel Harman, Green, Valet, Downton Abbey series 4Nigel Harman 

Who is he playing?

Harman is Lord Gillingham's valet Green. We don't know much else about him but he did tell RadioTimes.com that "incredibly charming" Green is ready to stir things up. Apparently he's too good to be true and has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Not one. Uh oh...

Where do you recognise him from?

EastEnders, of course. 40-year-old Harman played bad boy Dennis Rickman in the long-running London-set soap. You know, the charming yet violent murderer who had a questionable relationship with his sister.

Harman has also appeared in Larkrise to Candleford and Hotel Babylon, as well as a number of West End plays including Shrek, which he won an Olivier award for. He's set to star in the upcoming X Factor musical, too.


Daisy Lewis, Sarah Bunting, Branson, love interest, Downton Abbey series 4Daisy Lewis

Who is she playing?

A character called Sarah Bunting who appears towards the end of the series. Rumour has it she's being drafted in to mend poor Branson's broken heart. Reports did suggest that she was going to play the children's nanny but (from the hours we've spent dissecting filming shots) her wardrobe looks a bit too fancy for that. And she has been spied carrying books around in the village. Perhaps she's Downton's school teacher...?

Where do you recognise her from?

Perhaps Doctor Who, Lewis or The Lady Vanishes? The relative newcomer has also starred alongside Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith in Julian Fellowes' From Time to Time. She'll feel right at home, then.


Paul Giamatti, Harold Levinson, Downton Abbey series 4Paul Giamatti

Who is he playing?

Harold Levinson, the "maverick, playboy" brother of Cora Crawley. Mary and Edith's free-spirited brother, who reportedly has a penchant for buying yachts, will make his appearance during the Christmas special alongside his mother Martha Levinson, who is played by returning cast-member Shirley MacLaine. He's set to stir things up at the Abbey. Maybe he'll wear Hawaiian shorts to dinner, smash the punch bowl or seduce Mrs Hughes...?

Where do you recognise him from?

The Hollywood star has appeared in Rock of Ages, The Ides of March, Cosmopolis, The Hangover II, Cinderella Man and Sideways. He's also in upcoming films 12 Years a Slave, Saving Mr Banks and The Amazing Spider Man 2.


MyAnna Buring, Edna Braithwaite, housemaid, lady's maid, Downton Abbey series 4MyAnna Buring

Who is she playing?

She's not exactly a new character - Edna Braithwaite appeared in the Christmas special - but you weren't expecting to see her again were you? Evil Edna, who almost managed to seduce Branson last time she was at Downton, is making a return to the Abbey in the first episode. Six months have gone past and things have changed. Edna has trained to be a lady's maid. But has she put her scheming ways behind her?

Where do you recognise her from?

The Swedish actress played blood-sucking Tanya in Twilight but she's also appeared in White Heat, The Poison Tree and Ripper Street.


Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Nellie Melba, Downton Abbey series 4Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Who is she playing?

Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, Downton Abbey's first real historical character (but not the only one this series...) Dame Nellie was one of the most famous singers in the late Victorian era and she's set to hit those high notes at a party thrown at Downton Abbey in episode three. Fancy.

Where do you recognise her from?

New Zealand born Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has forged an internationally successful opera career. The 69-year-old (We know. She looks amazing, doesn't she?) has sung for the Queen and performed at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981.


Virginia Woolf, Christina Carty, Downton Abbey series 4Christina Carty

Who is she playing?

Another historical figure here. Carty will be playing the role of iconic writer Virginia Woolf. No doubt an inspiration for Downton's new budding journalist Edith, our bet would be that the middle Crawley sister finds herself rubbing shoulders with the famous writer at a fancy soiree in London.

Where do you recognise her from?

She's starred in Belonging to Laura and The Vessel. 


Joanna David

Who is she playing?

The Duchess of Yeovil. We are a little light on details with this one... but we do know she's set to appear in two episodes. A visiting friend of the Dowager Countess perhaps? Maybe a guest at one of Downton's extravagant parties?

Where do you recognise her from?

The 66-year-old actress, who happens to be mother to Emilia and Freddie Fox, has had an extensive career spanning more than five decades. You might recognise her from roles in the 1995 TV series Pride and Prejudice, Mill on the Floss, Foyles War, Heartbeat, Bleak House, Monarch of the Glen, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Midsomer Murders, Doctors... the list could go on and on.


Harriet Walter

Who is she playing?

Lady Shackleton, a friend of the quick-tongued Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith. She appears in the first episode of the new series.

Where do you recognise her from?

Star of screen and stage, 62-year-old Harriet Walter has starred in Sense and Sensibility, Babel, Atonement, The Young Victoria, Little Dorrit, Waking the Dead and Heading Out. Etc.


Raquel Cassidy

Who is she playing?

Baxter, a member of Downton Abbey staff who arrives half way through the series. Sadly that's all we've got. Could she be about to step into O'Brien's shoes as Thomas's new scheming buddy? Perhaps we've got it all wrong and she's the babies' nanny who is set to fall for Branson...?

Where do you recognise her from?

You probably recognise her as Susan from Teachers, but she's also starred in Moving Wallpaper, Land Girls, Doctor Who, Lead Balloon and Touch of Cloth.


Andrew Alexander

Who is he playing?

Sir John Bullock. Audition notes reportedly said that they were looking to cast a “party-loving cad” who "must be able to act drunk" so we think it's fair to assume he’ll be causing a bit of drama down at the Abbey. Our detective work has uncovered that the dashing young chap can sing too, so perhaps Downton is set to experience karaoke for the very first time…

Where do you recognise him from?

He’s appeared in The 39 Steps on the stage and is set to star in The Monuments Men on the big screen alongside the likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett.


Patrick Kennedy

Who is he playing?

Sampson. The fact that we’ve just got a surname implies he’s a member of staff. Sir John Bullock’s valet perhaps?

Where do you recognise him from?

It could be any of these dramas: Boardwalk Empire, Peep Show, Murder on the Home Front, Parade’s End, Atonement, Bleak House, War Horse, Black Mirror…


Downton Abbey returns to ITV on 22 September. 


 

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