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Saturday, 14 December 1:30pm
Downton Abbey is about to receive an injection of Hollywood glamour, after it was announced that Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast for the new series.
The actress – whose achievements include starring in over 50 films and receiving six Oscar nominations – will play the role of play Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).
And sparks are set to fly as the no-nonsense character makes her mark in the period drama.
Gareth Neame of Carnival Films, which produces the show, said: "My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.
"Julian (Fellowes) has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess, and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her."
This will be the third series of Downton Abbey, a period costume drama which follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.
Downton Abbey has been a massive hit with both critics and audiences alike, with the series picking up a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series earlier this month, as well as the gong for Best Drama at the National Television Awards in London last week.