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Sometimes it is difficult to remember Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey, on PBS, is merely repeating episodes of the popular British series that aired several months before on ITV. Thus, when casting news comes down the pipeline, I tend to have thoughts along the lines of, “Oh goody, I’m so stoked for the end of the season.” Unfortunately for me, any casting news for Downton Abbey is coming for the show’s upcoming third series, which is set to begin filming next month.
The newest addition to Downton Abbey’s cast will be veteran actress Shirley MacLaine, who began her film career as a feisty young mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry and will now play the feisty older mother of Downton Abbey’s Countess of Grantham, played by Elisabeth McGovern. According to BBC News, the Countess of Grantham’s mother will be a wealthy American named Martha Levinson.
Normally when I consider Downton Abbey and “feisty” in the same sentence, I’m considering the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. Indeed, producer Gareth Naeme says Levinson and the Dowager Countess will be of the same ilk.
"Julian [Fellowes] has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess.”
Brilliant MacLaine’s character may be, but can you imagine putting her into the same room with the Dowager Countess and Matthew Crawley’s mother, Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton)? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, and one I am completely ready and willing to tune in for. In the meantime, TV Blend will keep this side of the Atlantic posted if Downton Abbey acquires any more new characters worth note.