‘Downton’ Roundup: News from the Abbey, Including Airdate for Julian Fellowes’ ‘Titanic’

'Downton Abbey'

It’s been a little over a week with no Downton Abbey. No yearning looks exchanged between Lady Mary and Matthew. No evil plotting over a smoking break by Thomas and O’Brien. And no withering quips from the Dowager Countess. How have you survived?

To help fans cope – at least until the series returns to PBS in early 2013 – here’s a quick digest of recent Downton-related developments:

The household is expanding.

There’ll be newbies at the dining table downstairs at Downton Abbey in Season 3. Matt Milne, who starred in War Horse, will join the series to play a footman named Alfred. Also newly cast are young actresses Cara Theobald as Ivy, a kitchen maid, and Lucille Sharp as Miss Reid, a lady’s maid.

No Downton at the megaplex.

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Crawley, shot down speculation that a Downton Abbey movie might be in the works. “Everyone thinks we’re making a film because our writer [Julian Fellowes] spoke to some producers at the Golden Globes,” he told the Daily Star. “But that is what happens at film awards – it doesn’t mean we’re doing a film. I understand why people think we should though – the cast is incredible.”

Janet McTeer wants to pull a Maggie Smith.

At the Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles over the past weekend, the Oscar-nominated star of Albert Nobbs told the Washington Post that she adores Downtown Abbey and that, “When they do the remake, in however many years time, I want to play [the] Maggie Smith [part].”

Julian Fellowes gets that sinking feeling.

ABC has announced air dates for Titanic, a new, four-hour mini-series by Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey. Telling the stories of both real and fictional characters aboard the doomed ocean liner, the British series will air across two weekend nights, April 14 and 15, dates that coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster. Brits Linus Roache (Law & Order), Geraldine Somerville (she played Harry Potter’s mom) and Perdita Weeks (Mary Boleyn on The Tudors) star.

An Emmy is an Emmy is an Emmy.

After its surprise win of an Emmy award last year as best mini-series for Season One, Downton Abbey is switching categories. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which sponsors the awards, ruled that henceforth Downtown will compete in the dramatic series category since it is an ongoing show. Rebecca Eaton, the executive producer of PBS’ Masterpiece, said she can live with the change in competitive categories, telling Variety: “We understand the Academy’s decision. There are great shows in the drama series category, and it will be exciting to have Downton Abbey in competition with them.” (The change also affects BBC America’s Luther, which also will be slotted into the dramatic series category.)

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Are you missing Downton Abbey?

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