"Downton Abbey" season 4 sneak peek: Meet the new characters

The cast of season 4 of "Downton Abbey." Carnival Film and Television Limited 2013 for MASTERPIECE

When "Downton Abbey" returns on this side of the Atlantic in January, there will be a few new faces around the stately English manor.

PBS is giving fans a sneak peek at the new characters joining the show for season 4, with some intel from the cast and creators themselves.

In the video below, we meet Tom Cullen, who plays Lord Gillingham, a childhood friend of the Crawleys who serves as a potential new love interest for Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).

"He's never managed to settle down," explains "Downton" creator Julian Fellowes. "Then he comes across Mary and he admires her very much."

"He's someone whose heart rules his head," adds producer Liz Trubridge.

Julian Ovenden plays Charles Blake, who works for the government and "immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Lady Mary," the actor says. "He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about people with privilege."

There's a new valet, Green (played by Nigel Harman), and Raquel Cassidy plays Baxter, a new lady's maid for Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) who has a secret that Thomas (Rob James-Collier) is keeping for her.

There are also two performers coming to "Downton" -- Gary Carr portrays a singer named Jack Ross, the first black character to appear on the series, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa plays Dame Nellie Melba, who Fellowes says was "the great opera star of that period."

"Downton Abbey" returns to PBS on Jan. 5. Watch that video, and a few other "Downton" sneak peeks, below:

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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