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Downton Abbey Christmas special: New preview pictures

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New pictures from Downton Abbey's Christmas special have been unveiled by ITV.

Featuring fresh shots of Hollywood star Paul Giamatti's guest role and further clues about the plot for the festive edition of the period drama, the snaps are expected to excite fans of the show.

Paul Giamatti as Harold Levinson and Michael Benz as Ethan in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Paul Giamatti touches down on 'Downton'


At the heart of this year's Christmas episode will be Lady Rose's 'coming out', where she is presented at Buckingham Palace.

Not wanting to miss out on the occasion Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) returns, bringing her New York playboy son Harold (Giamatti) with her. Inevitably, the duo make quite the impact on London's high society.

Lily James as Rose in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Rose prepares for her 'coming out.'


Elsewhere, Isobel finds herself being chased by an admirer, Daisy has "an unexpected invitation" and Carson treats his staff to a "special day out".

The episode, which was filmed at Lancaster House and other spectacular locations, will also feature a storyline surrounding a royal scandal that the Crawleys are implicated in.

Cast regulars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt will all return for the episode.

Phyllis Logan as Mrs Hughes and Jim Carter as Mr Carson in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Mrs Hughes and Carson like to be beside the seaside.


Familiar faces Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Patrick Kennedy, Tim Drewe and Douglas Reith will also be back, continuing stories from the end of series four.

Newcomers for the Christmas special include Poppy Drayton, Oliver Dimsdale who plays the Prince of Wales, Janet Montgomery, Guy Williams playing King George V and Michael Benz as Harold Levinson's valet, Ethan.

Rob James-Collier as Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Thomas Barrow enjoys a day out on the beach in his own grumpy style.



Oliver Dimsdale as Prince of Wales and Guy Williams as King George V in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Royalty comes to Downton. Meet King George V.



Poppy Drayton as Madeline in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Meet newcomer Poppy Drayton.



Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Shirley MacLaine is BACK.



Lily James as Rose and Oliver Dimsdale as Prince of Wales in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Rose has yet another suitor. This time it's the Prince of Wales.



Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess, Violet in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

It wouldn't be a Christmas special without the Dowager.



Brendan Coyle as Mr Bates and Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Bates and Anna look happy again



Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley and Douglas Reith as Lord Merton in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Will there be a new love interest for Isobel



Julian Ovenden as Charles Blake and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey Christmas Special

© ITV / Nick Briggs

Blake is still persisting with Lady Mary


Downton Abbey's two-hour festive special airs on Christmas Day at 8.30pm.

Downton was commissioned for a fifth series earlier this year, following more ratings success for its fourth run.

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