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Paul Giamatti to join cast of Downton Abbey

Actor Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man) has joined the cast of Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama Downton Abbey, Carnival Films and ITV have announced.

Giamatti will play Cora’s maverick, playboy brother Harold in the much awaited Christmas episode. Here he will be starring next to the glamorous Shirley MacLaine (who also starred in series 3) and the regular cast members for the dramatic climax to what will be the fourth series of the popular drama.

He joins new cast members Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Gary Carr who are all set to star in the eight-part new series alongside regulars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter .

Carnival Films’ managing director, Gareth Neame said: “We're excited that Paul Giamatti will be joining us on Downton to play Cora's brother Harold, the rather free-spirited uncle to Mary and Edith. We can't wait to see him work alongside Shirley Maclaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham's apple cart in this year's Christmas Day episode.”

Like last year, Christmas 2013 will bring another feature length episode.

Series 3 broke rating records in both the UK as well as the US where the final episode beat all broadcast and cable competition to become the highest rated show on American television.

Downton Abbey is executive produced by Gareth Neame, Julian Fellowes and Liz Trubridge.

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