Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor Join

LONDON — Carnival Films and Masterpiece on PBS have announced new cast members joining season five of their hit drama “Downton Abbey.”

Richard E. Grant (“Girls,” “Gosford Park,” “Doctor Who”) is joining the cast as Simon Bricker, who visits Downton Abbey as a guest of the Granthams.

Anna Chancellor (“The Hour,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) joins in a guest role, playing Lady Anstruther, and Rade Sherbedgia (“Eyes Wide Shut,” “24”) plays a Russian refugee.

Returning guest cast member Harriet Walter will reprise her role as Lady Shackleton, along with Peter Egan, returning as Lord Flintshire.

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton said, “We look forward to introducing these new characters to our Masterpiece audience. They will make a wonderful addition to the beloved ‘Downton Abbey’ ensemble.”

The fourth season of “Downton Abbey,” which concludes on Feb. 23, hit a new record high in the U.S. with its season four opener, averaging 15 million viewers, an increase of 39% from the season three opening episode.

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