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'Downton Abbey' adds Harriet Walter, Kiri Te Kanawa in guest role; Shirley MacLaine returns
Shirley MacLaine will return to 'Downton Abbey' in next season's finale while renowned stage actress Harriet Walter and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa are joining in guest roles, the show announced yesterday. Joanne David, another big English TV star, is also joining in a guest role.
Walter's especially intriguing because she's an esteemed Shakespearean actor, and well-known on British TV, now about to get some exposure to U.S. audiences. (She's also been on Broadway, recently in "Mary Stuart.") New Zealand born Te Kanewa is an opera great - a household name to opera buffs for decades (her role's expected to be brief, more along the lines of a cameo, than recurring.) Julian Ovenden is yet another very big get for the show.
For a bit of perspective, some of these names may not be all that well-known to U.S. TV viewers, but they certainly are in the U.K., so this is all reasonably important casting news
Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party
Nigel Harman as Green, a valet
Dame Harriet Walter as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager
Joanne David in a guest role as the Duchess of Yeovil
Julian Ovenden as aristocrat Charles Blake
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as a guest who sings in the house