Sneak Preview: The Downton Abbey Christmas special
Published 04/12/2013 | 15:26
The Downton Abbey Christmas special is set to be one of the TV highlights of the festive season.
TV3 has announced it will take the Crawley family to Buckingham Palace, where a scandal threatens to engulf the British monarchy.
As Lady Rose prepares to be presented at the Palace for her "coming-out", and Cora's mother and brother arrive from America, Robert will be forced to act to protect both the royal family and his own.
The feature-length episode will be shown on TV3 on Stephen's Day at 9pm. It will feature all the cast from the fourth series, including Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle.
Confirmed guest stars include Hollywood actor Paul Giamatti as Cora's brother Harold, James Fox as Lord Aysgarth, Guy Williams as King George V and Oliver Dimsdale as the Prince of Wales.
Tom Cullen and Julian Ovenden, who played two of Lady Mary's love interests in the last series, are also set to return, alongside Shirley MacLaine reprising her role as Cora's mother, Martha Levinson.
Events in the episode are set six months after the end of series four, which saw Lady Mary fielding advances from more than one suitor while in mourning for her late husband Matthew. Matthew Crawley was killed in a car accident during the 2012 Christmas special.
Filming locations for the 2013 edition include Lancaster House standing in for Buckingham Palace, West Wittering beach in West Sussex and Basildon Park in Berkshire, which will represent the Crawleys' London residence.