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Downton Abbey series 3: First pictures revealed

Published by Esme Riley
Published on 25 July 2012

Hooray! Downton Abbey is returning for a third series in September - and we're rather excited.

Downton Abbey series 3: First pictures revealed

Downton Abbey Series

And now our anticipation is at an all-time high after ITV released new stills of the upcoming season.One shows the cast lined up on Grantham estate, witch Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine positioned just behind Maggie Smith.

Another shows the newcomer arriving at the Abbey.

Downton Abbey series

Shirley - who's been described by producers as an "absolute delight" on set - will play Lady Grantham's mother, Martha Levinson.

Michelle Dockery

The events of the upcoming series have been kept under wraps, but it's thought it will focus on the Crawley's financial struggles, as well as Ireland's political troubles.

Last week it was revealed that Downton had been nominated for an impressive 16 Emmy Awards, with three of these in major categories.

Stars of the show Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville are up for Best Actress and Actor gongs, while it's also in the running to take home the prize for Best Drama Series.