“Downtown Abbey”‘s season three premiere on January 6 is a long way off. But it’s never too early for spoilers! At a press tour last night for the Television Critics Association, creator Julian Fellowes spilled the beans on what we can expect from the PBS upstairs/downstairs tale. Namely, Shirley MacLaine.
Season three continues with the 1920s, as Britain is recovering from the Great War. That means different things for different members of the “Downton” household and staff: for the likes of Mary and Matthew, it means starting their lives together as man and wife. For the elders, it means a changing world — most startingly, the loss of the Grantham fortune. Cora, whose upbringing “was not the same as Robert’s” will be “less afraid of change,” Fellowes said. Additionally, the show’s creator divulged it will explore problems that Britain began having with the Irish.
Mr. Bates is in jail while his new wife Anna pleads his innocence. Lady Sybil continues to ruffle feathers with her new husband, the (socialist!) chauffer.
And of course, Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora’s American mother Martha. Not surprisingly, Martha will butt heads with the Dowager Countess, presumably over who gets to be the top matriarch. It turns out that MacLaine is pals with Dame Maggie Smith — “lovers in another life,” she joked.
Sigh. How many months until January 6?
This post originally appeared on BlackBookMag.com.