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Downton Abbey Season 4 Spoilers: New cast members and dramatic Christmas special revealed

by Esme Riley ,
Downton Abbey Season 4 Spoilers: New cast members and dramatic Christmas special revealed© ITV

Excited for the next series of Downton Abbey? So are we! With another new cast member announced, we can hardly wait to see the drama and promised "shocks" that will unfold in season four.

It's been announced that Paul Giamatti is joining the cast of Downton Abbey.

The Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG award winner - who's starred in John Adams, Sideways, Barney’s Version and Cinderella Man - will play Cora Crawley’s playboy brother Harold in the Christmas episode.

Paul will star in the award-winning show for the climax of season four, which has promised to be "dramatic”.

He'll not be the only newbie on set in the fourth series of Downton.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Gary Carr have also joined the cast for the eagerly-anticipated next run of the programme.

Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame, said: "We're excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play Cora's brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith.

"We can't wait to see him work alongside Shirley MacLaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham's apple cart in this year's Christmas Day episode."

It seems we have some antics to look forward to between Harold and Shirley MacLaine's character Martha Levinson, who will of course be joined by regulars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter

Paul Giamatti © Getty
Paul Giamatti
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Viewers will no doubt be hoping the feature-length December 25th episode will be less harrowing than last year's, which saw Matthew Crawley killed in a car accident after the birth of his son.

Series three also saw the shock departure of much-loved character Lady Sybil - played by Jessica Brown Findlay - after suffering complications during childbirth.

Joanne Froggatt - who plays Anna Bates - has promised that show creator Julian Fellowes has a few "shocks" in store for Downton fans in series four.

The 32- year-old told interviewers about the upcoming series: "I think the scripts have really surpassed themselves again this year.

"I think Julian has done an amazing job yet again at ringing the changes and bringing in changes yet again.

"It's a real rollercoaster again. There are quite a few shocks for series four, so, yeah, there's a lot of exciting things to happen."

Downton Abbey © ITV
Downton Abbey
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Are you excited about the next series of Downton Abbey later this year? Tweet us @sofeminineUK

Esme Riley
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