Ahead of the highly-anticapted return of Julian Fellowes' 'Downton Abbey' in the autumn, here is what we know about series four so far...

1. Lady Mary Crawley's baby George and Tom Branson's baby Sybil turn out to be very cute indeed. Both parents - played by Michelle Dockery and Allen Leech respectively - are forced to adjust to life without their partners, Matthew Crawley and Lady Sybil, who both died in series three.

downton abbey

2. Queen Elizabeth's second cousin twice removed, Flora Ogilvy, will reportedly join this year's Downton Abbey as the first genuine royal cast member.

3. Paul Giamatti will appear in the series four Christmas Special. The American actor will play Harold, a “maverick, playboy brother of Cora and uncle to Mary and Edith”.

paul giamatti

4. The Golden Globe-Award winning drama is slated to return to ITV in September in the UK and will be shown from 5 January in the US.

5. It will be the "best series ever" - according to Brendan Coyle who plays John Bates.

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6. Ed Speleers (who plays Jimmy Kent) and Kevin Doyle (who plays Joseph Molesley) have been spotted shooting scenes in central London, hinting that the show will feature more scenes outside the quaint village of Downton. A traditional red London bus was also seen on set, in addition to the Crawley family's cars.

7. A new troublemaker will enter the Crawley world. Daisy Lewis' will play baby Sybil's conniving nanny and will reportedly attempt to begin an affair with widowed father Tom Branson.

daisy lewis

8. Downton's matriarch the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Dame Maggie Smith) still has a great selection of hats. She will be seen visiting the graves of the late Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley alongside Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton).

downton abbey

9. The show will welcome its first black character - Jazz man Jack Ross. Played by 'Death In Paradise' actor Gary Carr, Jack is described as "a charming and charismatic young man". He was photographed filming scenes in a rowing boat with Lily James, who plays Lady Rose MacClare, the rebellious great-niece of the Dowager.

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10. Downton Abbey fans have been told to expect nine new characters in series four as well as the return of Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson, alongside series regulars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter.

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  • Mr Carson (Jim Carter)

  • Lady Rose MacClare (Lily James)

  • Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech)

  • Tom Branson and baby Sybbie

  • Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera)

  • Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen)

  • Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden)

  • Jack Ross (Gary Carr)

  • Downton Abbey series 4 cast

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