Former 'EastEnders' star gets role on 'Downton'

Former 'EastEnders' star gets role on 'Downton'

Nigel Harman has joined 'Downton Abbey'.

The former 'EastEnders' actor - who portrayed soap bad boy Dennis Rickman in the BBC One show from 2003 to 2005 - will play a visiting valet called Green in the ITV period drama, which has welcomed six new faces to its ranks.

As well as Nigel, 'Black Mirror' star Tom Cullen has been cast as Lord Gillingham, an old childhood friend of Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery), while Dame Harriet Walter will play Lady Shackleton, a friend of the Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith).

Other new additions include Joanna David, who will guest star as the Duchess of Yeovil; Julian Ovenden as aristocrat Charles Blake, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will portray a singing house guest.

Executive Producer Gareth Neame said in a statement: "'Downton Abbey' has seen many great characters visit the house over the years and we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome the new faces that will be joining the regular cast of 'Downton' in series four.

"We hope audiences will be as excited about them as we are."

Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton added: "The addition of these characters can only mean more delicious drama -- which is what 'Downton Abbey' is all about."

What's more, Shirley MacLaine - who portrays Martha Levinson, the American mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern) - is also reprising her role in the forthcoming fourth season.

News of the show's new recruits comes shortly after Siobhan Finneran - who has played Lady Grantham's cunning maid Sarah O'Brien since the show began - revealed she has quit the programme.

She said: "I'm not doing any more. O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being - that was great to play."

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