Tuesday, April 23, 2024

“Downton” News: Shirley MacLaine Returns, Mary Gets Two Suitors

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“Downton Abbey” has lost a few and gained a few. True: Sybil, Matthew and O’Brien are gone. But coming to the Abbey are a bunch of new people and one familiar face. Shirley MacLaine is returning as the American mother of Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), Martha Levinson. She may even explain how she came to have a Jewish surname–did she marry a Rothschild? It’s a burning question. Martha may be bringing a black jazz musician with her from America, too.

Meanwhile, Mary gets two suitors–Julian Ovenden, and Tom Cullen will play the men vying for her hand since Matthew was literally kicked to the curb. There were will be a few others including the great British actress Harriet Walter as a friend of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess. Dame Kiri te Kanawa will make an appearance as an opera singer, which is what she is in real life. And of course, Charles Edwards returns as Edith’s married newspaper editor and possible lover.

“Downton” has two more seasons, I think. The mandate now is not to “jump the shark” and keep the show from becoming self-parody. If Julian Fellowes can do that– and it’s not so easy– we will all be in his debt.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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