Downton Abbey Series 4: Lady Mary’s new love interest named as Lord Anthony Gillingham and show to cast its first black actor to play musician Jack Ross!

by Anna Howell

After months of speculation about the future love life of Lady Mary Crawley in the much-anticipated fourth series of the hit ITV period drama, Downton Abbey, the character being lined up as a match for the widow has been named Lord Anthony Gillingham!

As we reported earlier this year, following the death Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) at the end of last year’s Christmas special, producers on Downton Abbey have been on the hunt for a new love interest for his widow Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).

Original reports were that the search wasn’t going particularly well, with candidates applying described as simply not being right for the part.

Then, earlier this month, we reported that Miranda star, Tom Ellis, had been lined up to play the part, but were soon quashed when it was revealed that Ellis, who plays Miranda’s love interest Gary on the hit BBC comedy, would instead be playing Victor Frankenstein in a new US horror series, Gothica, instead.

Whilst it would seem that casting directors are still on the lookout for Lady Mary’s new suitor, they do, however, have a name for the character when they eventually find a suitable actor – Lord Anthony Gillingham!

According to the Sun newspaper, Lord Anthony is set to help out with the financial mess that the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) is in, so will be welcomed by the family with open arms.

The publication also states that casting notes describe the new character as a “good looking, very charismatic” 35 to 45-year-old with a “perfect cut glass accent. He’s warm and charming, but also a strong man with morals.”

And he, whoever he turns out to be, will not be the only new face on our screens when the show, which begins filming next month, returns to our screens later this year.

Downton bosses are also on the prowl for an actor to be cast as the shows first ever black character.

According to the Sun, a black male is to join the cast playing musician Jack Ross as part of a 1920’s race relations storyline.

Jack Ross was described in casting notes sent out to agencies earlier this month as being “Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s.

“He’s black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma.”

“Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor.”

As well as adding that whoever lands the role should “ideally be able to sing brilliantly”.

Downton producers are also on the lookout for another actor to play a party-loving character called Sir John Bullock who “must be able to act drunk”.

Watch an interview with Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna Bates, discussing the new series of Downton Abbey in the clip below: