CASTING NEWS: ‘DOWNTON ABBEY.’ Sharing the names and rumors about the upcoming season of Downton Abbey. Text © Rissi JC

Guess what!? There is finally news confirming casting rumors and casting news: Downton Abbey, here we come! According to multiple sources, including Masterpiece – about Downton’s fourth season! (Plus some juicy character tidbits.) These picks- and their characters, have me giddy with anticipation, this I will confess. As always, any readers who wish to remain spoiler free of the final events of series three leading into the autumn premiere of series four… please do not read ahead! Those of you who don’t mind some jolly good Downton gossip and fun, please overflow the comments section!  

Big shout-out to my lovely friend, Ruth A. for these – and for reminding me how exciting series four is going to be. *smile*  

The new cast and their respective characters include:

CASTING NEWS: ‘DOWNTON ABBEY.’ Sharing the names and rumors about the upcoming season of Downton Abbey. Text © Rissi JC
+ Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party  

To quote Ruth, I don’t know who this dude is… but he is cute! (Mind you some of his movies are… um, not exactly “good.” We’ll leave it at that!)  

+ Nigel Harman as Green, a valet  
+ Dame Harriet Walter as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager  
+ Joanne David in a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil  
CASTING NEWS: ‘DOWNTON ABBEY.’ Sharing the names and rumors about the upcoming season of Downton Abbey. Text © Rissi JC
+ Julian Ovenden as aristocrat Charles Blake            

Um, yes! This is totally awesome! How could anything possibly get better!? Always knew I had a soft spot for the character of Andrew Foyle. Andrew Foyle in the hallowed halls of Downton? Yes, please!  

+ Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as a guest who sings in the house  

Also here are some teases about the main character’s – including the departure of one (good riddance methinks) and the return of another:

Some big news out of the U.K. regarding “Downton Abbey,” fans. Siobhan Finneran, who plays the dastardly maid O’Brien on the hit British import, is not returning for Season 4.

Finneran tells the U.K.’s Press Association, “I’m not doing any more. O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being — that was great to play.”

A spokesperson for “Downton” confirms Finneran’s departure, though adds that it is understood the door is open for a possible return in the future. – Zap2It

Life after Matthew: Downton creator Julian Fellowes told Digital Spy that Matthew’s departure would dominate future episodes, adding that “Mary trying to rebuild her life” would be a key theme of Season 4. We’ve already read that she’ll be getting a new boyfriend. But, thankfully, we shouldn’t expect more major character deaths. “We don’t want it turning into Midsomer Murders, where they live in the same village and 450 people get murdered,” Julian laughed. So no other actors are allowed to suddenly leave the show!                               

What’s next for Anna & Bates? Now that Bates is free, Joanne Froggatt (Anna) teased at least a little bit of good news for the couple. “You certainly see Anna and Bates in times of happiness, which I think was well needed,” Anna told Zap2it, although she added that, of course, there will also be drama. “I’m afraid I can’t say much but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. As an actress you always want to play the drama.” Also, she said, Anna is getting a new look! “I get a slightly new hairstyle, very exciting!”  

Best season yet? “We have just had the read-through for Series 4 today and I am thrilled with the whole thing, including Anna and Bates’s story,” Joanne continued. “I obviously can’t say more than that but I think it may be the best yet and there are certainly aspects of Anna’s character that have never been seen before … I think these scripts are the best yet. [Julian Fellowes] has done such an incredible job. ”  

Edith’s independence: At the end of Season 3, Edith was in a strange position. Her editor confessed his love for her, but he’s married. Obviously her family doesn’t want her to be with a married man — Edith as a mistress?! — but Edith is going to make her own decisions, whether to be with him or not. Laura Carmichael told the Lancashire Evening Post that Edith is going to get feisty on Season 4. “She’s coming into her own a little bit,” Laura said. “ think after being jilted she’s thrown it all out the window, any ideas she did have in the first place and I think that’s been good for her. It’s given her a bit of independence and hotspur. I love playing her.” – Wetpaint  

Also returning – at some point in series four is Shirley MacLaine.

Now, friends! What do you think of all this information? Do share any thoughts, opinions or speculation of series four! Would love to chat all about it.  ♥

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. So sad to hear O'Brian won't be returning. I loved watching her spar with Thomas! There's so much to look forward to! Man, I cannot wait until next year! :D

    1. Oh, really!? Seeing O'Brien depart won't earn any tears from me. Methinks that's one of the best S4 changes. :)

      Yay! I am right there with you, Rosie! Cannot wait for S4 – and our chats about it. :) Bring on fall 2013!

    2. I hear you. Other than an exclamation of "good riddance," I had no emotional reaction to O'Brien leaving. I saw no change in her although I know some fans did think she changed. Villains are not characters I sympathize with or root for so seeing her leave won't bother me. You aren't alone though – several people don't like that idea much either…

      While it may seem like too many of the original cast is leaving, from a dramatic POV, I think this is excellent and could (emphasis on that) breathe new life into the series giving it just what it needs. Or that is my anticipation. :)

  2. I'm soooo excited for season four!! I can hardly wait! I agree with The Reader, Thomas was more the problem than Miss O'Brian. I was actually beginning to like O'Brian since she was becoming a bit nicer. I absolutely HATE Thomas (and not just because he's "different" but because he's not even a nice guy at all)! I wish they would've got rid of him the second! His role isn't even that important! Anyways, I'm excited to watch Anna and Bates in their new married life, see how Lady Mary gets along without Matthew (so sad about him dying), what Lady Edith does, and sigh over the new attractive gentlemen. ;)

    1. Hey, Chasity!

      In my book, O'Brien and Thomas were/are both trouble (with a capital "T"). She used her "influence" to help along her nephew and continued to get back at Thomas – if she really wanted to change, she should never have done that. (Remember she was responsible for Cora's accident too!) However, Thomas is quite the meanie. Don't like either one of them – now if only Thomas would leave! :)

      Anna and Bates are TOO cute! Cannot wait to see what comes of that.

      Matthew's death was sad however knowing over a month in advance meant that I was "over it" by the time I watched it. Seeing how Mary copes will is a curiosity – plus the Edith story should prove interesting. (Hope she finds a different guy – maybe one of these new guys…?).

      Me too! Lovin' these new gentleman – hope they define that and aren't just a handsome face. ;)

  3. Oooooh….okay….hearing that Andrew Foyle's in this is tempting me to take the plunge and actually start watching Downton myself…

    1. *gasp*

      Kellie, you've not see this one yet, girl!? Oh, goodness, you should try it just to see if you'd enjoy. Some don't wind up caring for it – I am a fan that will stick with it to the bitter end. :)

      (Andrew is awesome!)

      If you try it, let me know what you think!

  4. I don't know about Series 4. I don't think it will be the best series, but who knows? I'll keep watching Downton, but now that Sybil, Matthew, and O'Brien have left, it seems like a good part of the original cast is "jumping the ship" (though I never really liked O'Brien in the first place).

    It would be interesting to see Harriet Walter and Joanna David on Downton, though.

    1. Maybe the closer the premiere date gets, the more excited you'll become, Elizabeth… I hope that it does, and you enjoy it – when you've come to love a series so much and then it suddenly lets you down, it can be disappointing. :/

      This new cast and the departure of "mainstays" could be just what the series needs to "breath new life into it." We may be taken by surprise…

      Let's hope so!

      Unlike Matthew and Sybil, seeing O'Brien leave will be more relief than sorrow. :)

    1. Thanks, Emi – it is fun to read all these great spoilers. I'm a viewer who *needs* them. :) Happy you enjoy them.

      LOL! No, those new cast members aren't bad at all!

      SO glad you stopped by again – appreciate the thoughts and comments. And for the follow – I didn't notice you'd followed along. Really appreciate that. :)

  5. I saw a spoiler for season three, had a friend fill me in so I could decide if it was even worth the heartbreak, and decided not to watch the third installment. I love this show, but I have a beautiful happy ending at the end of season two I'm loathe to ruin.

    But seeing that Andrew Foyle is gonna be in season four made my heart flutter. Oh me oh my. I'm still not interested in seeing any more of the series, but I will DEFINITELY be interested to hear your opinion of his performance. =D

    1. Series three itself ends happily, AnnaKate, it's just the Christmas special that deals with the shocker of a heartbreak. About midway through S3, there is a death but the finale (not the Christmas ep.) ends in sunshine and happiness. :)

      For me, I understood the need for the death just because it would have been unrealistic to separate the couple given all they'd gone through to reach that point – and the fact that they were too in love. Plus the actor wouldn't budge on returning despite Fellowes attempting to persuade him to remain for the beginning of S4.

      I cannot tell you how excited I am to find out Andrew Foyle is going to be in this! Like you I've always had a soft spot for him. :) Do you like any of the other casting news? I think I can live with the "new love interest" even though I know nothing about the actor.

      Already I am anticipating chatting with everyone about S4. CAN. NOT. WAIT. :)

    2. I'm baaaack… mwahaha. ;)

      Yes, I saw the spoilers for both deaths. SOB. Poor Sybil. Poor Matthew. It's pretty dreadful. But as you said, not a dreadful as them separating after such a beautiful relationship.

      My current plan is to wait it out and see how s4 is recieved… then possibly take the plunge and catch up. I love the show, I just hate it when things take such drastic, sad turns like the two deaths here. Also, Mary, Matthew, and Sybil were all favourites of mine, and I hate to see two of them go. And when you think about it, Mary will never be the same without Matthew. There are things in her only he brings out.

      Believe it or not, I am a wee bit sad to see O'Brien go. Not only is she one of the core characters, she keeps Thomas in check. ;) haha. But all that being said, this is a fantastically written show with a lot of other great characters too. =) If the whole homosexual agenda (bleh) isn't pushed in s4 and it's generally a good season, I'm game. =)

    3. …and I am glad you are. :)

      The news of both deaths didn't set well with me, AnnaKate. I was mad and upset at Julian for killing off the best sister (she was so sweet!) and then upset that Matthew was about to perish as well. Then I didn't see the latter death for over a month on the show, so I kind of got "over it" after my rant. By that time, I recognized that it was the *only* way to part these two – after all, they were SO in love. You say it well about Matthew bringing out the best in Mary (I am also a fan of hers). My hope (or maybe it's more of an impossible dream…?) is that by having known and married Matthew, she's a better person and will still be a great character.

      You have the right idea; if you are unsure about how you are going to like these last series, it's best to sit back and see how they will play out. Knowing what little I do makes me curious and I don't feel like it will disappoint.

      In many ways, yes, O'Brien was who kept Thomas in check. I, however refuse to forget her evil-ness (*remembers her part in Cora losing baby*) and cannot muster up a single tear as a result. ;) I think with Thomas around – and who knows about this new valet or whomever replaces O'Brien, there will still be plenty of sinister things happening. And, writer's haven't ruled out an eventual return of O'Brien should the actress wish to come back.

      Agree 100%: That homosexual plot needs to go away! Ugh. When it crops up (rare as it is), it ruins an otherwise wonderful series. One that has so much potential yet… in spite of its flaws. :)

  6. Very interesting post! Though I'd read most of it already on the Downton Abbey Livejournal page, but seeing it all together makes me realize, there's already quite a lot known about series 4 now!

    I'm a bit tired from the 'Edith is coming into her own' promos. I believed they said the exact same thing for her character in series 2 and 3 as well!

    Well, I'm still exited and hope you'll do another Downton-news post if more news surfaces!

    1. Needless to say when I saw this news (from Ruth) on my dashboard Sunday morning, I was giddy! I am one of the few people who CANNOT wait to see what comes of this next series.

      Edith's whole story is getting a bit tired. I mean I like her and all that but she needs to quite being such a stereo type. It's as if Julian Fellowes is determined to make her out to be the "bitter sister."

      Hooray! Glad to find another voice who is excited. *high five* And if more news surfaces, you bet I'll share it. Can you tell I'm thrilled!? LOL! ;)

  7. Very intriguing! :D I don't know a lot of the actors or actresses, but I'm sure it will be fabulous. Downton always brings the fun! Plus I admit to liking the looks of the gentlemen in the pics you shared. That always helps my enthusiasm! :P Yay for series 4!!!!!

    1. Funny how photos can do that, right!? ;)

      Glad you are excited – *high five* I am also thrilled at the prospect of what is yet to come. It could be very (very!) good. :)

      I've always had a soft spot for Julian Overden so it will be awesome to see him in a completely different role.

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