Emmerdale actress moves to Downton

Amy Nuttall.

Amy Nuttall.

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Former Emmerdale actress Amy Nuttall and Spooks star Iain Glen are to join the cast of TV hit Downton Abbey.

They are among five new faces heading to the country estate of the Crawley family when the programme returns for a second series later this year.

Nuttall, who played Chloe Atkinson in the Dales soap for five years, will play a new housemaid, Ethel, in the ITV1 period drama, which drew more than 11 million viewers.

Glen - also known for his appearances in Lara Croft films - joins the cast as Sir Richard Carlisle for the return of the show, filmed at Hampshire’s Highclere Castle.

Irish actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy, noted for her portrayal of Katherine of Aragon in The Tudors, will star as Vera Bates - wife of war-wounded valet John Bates, played by Brendan Coyle.

And Cal Macaninch - Rowan Collins in ITV1’s Wild At Heart - will play a new valet, Lang.

Also joining the cast is Zoe Boyle, best known for her appearances in US motorbike gang series Sons Of Anarchy, which could help to broaden the appeal of the show even further in America. It has already drawn acclaim in the US and become the highest-rated show on the Masterpiece channel for years since being broadcast for the first time last month.

Boyle will play new character Lavinia Swire.

Work has begun on the eight-part second series and the programme will return for Christmas.

Adam Beaumont of AQL

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