Maggie Smith

Downton Abbey: Series 4 Casting News You Can Use

Though the end of Downton Abbey Series 3 is only a couple of weeks in our collective rearview mirrors, most everyone has already moved on to speculating/panicking/ardently wishing for the arrival of Series 4. Sadly, the new season of Downton has only just started filming in England, and won’t make its way to America until January of next year. (Is it too early for a countdown calendar? Probably not, right?)

The waiting game has brought us one bright spot, however – with the start of production on Series 4, this means that we’ve finally got some news about what the next season of everyone’s favorite costume drama will look like – and who we’ll see in it (as well as some tidbits about who we won’t).

Here be spoilers, obviously, so proceed at your own risk.

Downton Abbey: So, Where Do We Go From Here?

Series 3 of Downton Abbey wrapped up a week ago with what is arguably the biggest twist/cliffhanger/shock in the show’s history and fans everywhere are reeling (and not in the Anna-and-Rose-dancing-at-a-Scottish-ball adorable kind of way).

We’ve got months ahead of us to debate the wisdom of Series 3’s final minutes – but with Series 4 filming kicking off in England sometime in the next few weeks, many around the internet have already started speculating about what the next iteration of Downton will – and ought to – look like. Here’s my attempt to sort through some of my (apparently quite complicated) thoughts on the subject – I imagine some of you have also been mentally brewing over similar themes.

Obviously, there be spoilers here, so tread with caution if you haven’t seen the conclusion of Series 3 yet.

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About The Series 3 Finale

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Bates (FINALLY) got out of prison, Thomas made a move on the Hottest Footman in Northern England and got shot down, sending the house into a tailspin of drama, Bates saves the day by blackmailing O’Brien with her ladyship’s soap, Matthew and Tom join forces to run the estate, Mary has some unidentified surgery for some unidentified lady problem, Edith finds out Dishy Editor has Mr. Rochester syndrome, and also there’s a cricket match.

How is it possible we’ve reached the end of Series 3 already? It seems like we just started! The finale will take us through a time jump, a trip to Scotland and what’s possibly one of the most shocking moments in Downton to date. Obviously, we’re going to have a lot to talk about. So, let’s go.

Rare Dame Maggie Smith Interview Set to Happen on 60 Minutes

All Downton Abbey fans are probably going to want to make sure that they tune in to CBS news program 60 Minutes this weekend (February 17) because it’s going to be a rare opportunity to see an interview with the Dowager Countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith!

We all love Dame Maggie and her fantastic portrayal of Downton’s indomitable Dowager Countess, but it’s common knowledge that the star rarely makes public appearances like this. The two-time Oscar winner has a shelf full of awards for her portrayal of Violet Crawley , including multiple Golden Globes and Emmys, but the actress has never picked any of them up herself. Smith is notorious for never attending awards shows and the actress hardly ever does promotional appearances or interviews like this. (Read: Also pretty much never.) Get a sneek peek at Dame Maggie's CBS interview after the jump.

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 6

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Tragedy drives a wedge into Robert and Cora’s marriage, Isobel tries to make a kind gesture, everyone gets in arguments about a variety of topics from religion to Ethel’s PROSTITUTE ways, I am the only person in America who is apparently on Team Robert, Violet awesomely brings her son and his wife back together, and Bates is finally going to be released from jail, for reasons that really don’t bear looking at too closely.

We arrive at the penultimate episode of Series 3 tonight (can you believe it’s almost over?), but at least it’s a two-hour installment so there are plenty of new things to discuss. This is also probably the part where I should apologize for the length of this post in advance. (Just remember, it is two hours! A lot happens!)

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 5

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Everyone cries. That’s all. Oh, all right, fine – tragedy strikes the Crawley family when Sybil has unexpected complications following the birth of her daughter, Thomas gets a little too up close and personal with the Hottest Footman in Northern England, Isobel’s crusading ways leave her stuck having to eat Ethel’s cooking, and supersleuths Bates and Anna finally clue in to the fact that Vera killed herself (keep your day jobs, kids).

As Series 3 rolls on, it’s not quite clear how Downton is going to manage to top the emotional rollercoaster of last week’s episode, but you’ll have to read on to find out.

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 4

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Tom’s behavior means he and Sybil have to flee Ireland, Ethel gives her son to his grandparents, Anna and Bates have a whole episode where their main storyline is whether they get letters from each other (zzzzzzz…), Carson hires the most attractive footman in Northern England, and Robert should not be trusted with Monopoly money, let alone an estate fortune.

Series 3 rolls on this week with an episode packed with emotional moments large and small and one shocking, unexpected twist. Click through and let’s get to chatting.

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know About Episode 3

Previously, on Downton Abbey: Edith has the worst wedding ever, Carson is a supersleuth, Vera Bates had a super creepy neighbor, Matthew got a letter from his dead almost father-in-law, Isobel went on about prostitution a lot, Mrs. Hughes turned out to be okay so everyone can breathe again and apparently we won’t be needing that dreadfully tiny Downton Place after all.

How is Downton going to top all this? Let’s find out, as Series 3 rolls on with another exciting episode. We meet some new faces, new storylines begin and Carson finally gets to hire more staff. (Huzzah!) Click through and let’s discuss all the dramatic twists and turns from this week’s episode.

Rejoice, Downton Abbey Fans: The Dowager Countess Returneth

Downton Abbey fans, we can all breathe a (gigantic) sigh of relief. Though we already knew that everyone’s favorite costume drama was going to be back for a fourth series, filming is set to begin in just a few weeks – though word on the street from the Television Critics Association Press Tour this week says that Downton Series 4 will still bow in January 2014 in America.

Anyway, yes, that’s all awesome and everything, obviously, but let’s get to the news we really care about – for what is Downton without the acerbic wit and cutting one liners of the Dowager Countess? Well, thankfully, we won’t have to find out anytime soon. TV Line News reported exclusively yesterday that executive producer Gareth Naeme has confirmed Dame Maggie Smith has signed on for the drama’s fourth series. (Warning: Series 3 spoilers are present over at that site so tread carefully if you visit it!)

Smith was originally contracted for the show’s first three series, but there had been some doubt about whether the actress would choose to continue on past that point in the role that’s won her a boatload of acting awards in recent years. In another interview with TV Line earlier this year, creator Julian Fellowes explained that Smith was in charge of her own destiny on the show.

“I can’t tell you, ‘Oh, yes, she’s definitely contracted [for Season 4] — because she isn’t,” Fellowes said at the time. “It’s entirely up to her when she stays and when she goes.”

“With Maggie, you never know,” he added. “Other [actors] sign on for the next series and they sign for this and they sign for that, but she doesn’t. She stays her own person. But as far as I’m concerned, I hope she stays with the show until Downton falls down.”

We do too, Julian. We do too. Series 4 certainly seems like a good start!

Downton Dish: Let's Talk Everything You Need to Know about Episode 2

Series 3 of Downton Abbey rolls on this week with a (sadly) shorter second episode that was (amazingly) packed with almost as much drama as last week’s premiere!

We had another wedding, a mysterious letter, downstairs squabbling, downstairs sleuthing, lots of adorableness and some sadness too. Whew. You know what to do – click through and let’s discuss all the twists and turns from this week’s episode!