Popular period drama Downton Abbey is to return to ITV this Christmas, with viewers re-joining the family in the early autumn of 1924.
The episode will feature returning stars such as Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter alongside some other familiar names. Joining the cast as a guest star is New Tricks star Alun Armstrong in the role of Stowell, the Sinderbys’ butler and BAFTA Award nominee, Jane Lapotaire as the much talked about Princess Irina, wife of Prince Kuragin (Rade Sherbedgia).
Making a return to Downton Abbey are James Faulkner and Penny Downie as Lord and Lady Sinderby, along with their son and Lady Rose’s husband Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge. Rade Sherbedgia will also reprise his role as Prince Kuragin and Michael Fox will play footman Andy.
The following synopsis, released by ITV and Downton producers Carnival Films, outlines what viewers can expect throughout the two hour long special.
It’s grouse shooting season and Rose’s father-in-law, Lord Sinderby, has rented out Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the Crawley family to a shooting party. While good sport is enjoyed, Stowell (Armstrong) has an axe to grind and a scandalous secret threatens to undermine the holiday. Surprises are in store as the families become better acquainted with each other and some new faces arrive on the scene.
Meanwhile the servants hold the fort back at Downton. As Anna faces an uncertain future behind bars, Bates takes drastic measures in a bid to clear her name. Baxter and Molesley are busy on a joint plan and Carson and Mrs Hughes consider a business venture.
Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, was used as the location for Brancaster Castle. Production spent two weeks in Northumberland and filmed in the spectacular interior rooms as well as the incredible Hulne Abbey and shooting on the estate.
As in previous years the mammoth long edition of the show will air on ITV on Christmas Day.