Downton Abbey series 5: Sue Johnston to guest star as Dowager Countess' maid

The actress joins Richard E Grant and Anna Chancellor for the period drama

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The Independent Culture

Sue Johnston will be joining Downton Abbey series five in a guest role, ITV has confirmed.

The Bafta-nominated actress, 70, has been cast as Denker, Lady’s Maid to Maggie Smith’s Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Johnston, known for Coronation Street, Waking the Dead and The Royle Family, is set to star alongside fellow guest actors Richard E Grant, Anna Chancellor and Rade Sherbedgia.

Grant will play guest of the Granthams Simon Bricker, Chancellor will play new character Lady Anstruther and Sherbedgia will appear as a Russian refugee.

Dame Harriet Walter will reprise her role as Lady Shackleton while Peter Egan returns as Lord Flintshire.

The popular period drama will be back on our screens for eight new episodes this autumn before the annual feature-length Christmas special.

The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2013 Christmas special


Series four of Downton Abbey launched to 12 million UK viewers last year, before becoming the highest-rating TV drama in PBS’s history state-side, reaching over 26 million viewers throughout the run.

Speculation has been rife that writer Julian Fellowes may end Downton Abbey after the fifth series after he said in an interview earlier this year that the show will not “go on forever”.

“I don’t know yet if there is a season six,” he said.