Downton Abbey, Season 5

(Rochester, NY) – Downton Abbey returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate—a deliciously entertaining formula that has made it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Downton Abbey, Season 5, airs Sundays, January 4 - March 1, 2015 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Season 5 features returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Lily James, Brendan Coyle, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Samantha Bond, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift, and Andrew Scarborough.

This acclaimed ensemble is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter (Atonement), reprising her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan (Death at a Funeral), who returns as Lord Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant (Girls), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), and Rade Sherbedgia (24).

Viewers can expect to follow plot threads left dangling from last season, including Lady Mary’s courtship contest, Lady Edith’s trials as a secret single mom, Thomas’s scheming against Bates, Robert’s battles against modernity, Tom’s quest to be true to his ideals, Violet’s one-line zingers, and much, much more.

One of the recurring themes of Downton Abbey is change, from the wrenching consequences of the Titanic disaster in Season 1 to a notorious automobile accident at the end of Season 3—plus World War I, women’s rights, and the new morals, inventions, and fashions of the 1920s. Which is where Season 5 kicks off. It’s 1924. The United Kingdom has its first Labor Party prime minister. The radio is the latest miracle of the age. And Downton’s traditional ways are besieged on all fronts, as evidenced by this exchange between the head housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, and the butler, Mr. Carson:

“We’re catching up, Mr. Carson. Whether you like it or not, Downton is catching up with the times we live in,” says the forward-thinking Mrs. Hughes. “That’s exactly what I’m afraid of!” the butler retorts.

WXXI will also be bring back its Downton Abbey wrap-up show, Talking Abbey Live – airing immediately after Downton Abbey. The half-hour show, hosted by Danielle Abramson Swartz, features special guests who will dissect the episode, share their thoughts, and invite viewers to join in the conversation by calling (866) 264-5904 or Tweeting using hashtag: #TALWXXI. 

Pictured: Downton Abbey cast
Credit:Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECE

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