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OTRC: 'Downton Abbey' casts Gary Carr in show's first black recurring role

Gary Carr appears in a scene from the ITV series 'Foyle's War' in 2010. (ITV)

"Downton Abbey" is adding a new member to the cast of characters on the period drama.

ITV, the network that airs "Downton Abbey," announced on Wednesday, May 1, that Gary Carr has been cast as a jazz singer named Jack Ross. The character is the show's first black recurring character and Jack Ross is described as "a charming and charismatic young man."

"We are delighted to introduce another fantastic, dynamic character to 'Downton Abbey,'" the show's executive producer, Gareth Neame, said in a statement. "His addition will bring interesting twists to the drama which we can't wait for viewers to see in Series four."

Carr is a London-born actor and he has appeared on television shows like "Bluestone 42," "Foyle's War" and "Death in Paradise."

The announcement also revealed that in addition to another eight-episode season, the series will once again have a Christmas episode.

"Downton Abbey" debuted in 2010 and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their downstairs servants in England during the early 20th century. The last episode, the 2012 Christmas special, took place during September 1921.

It was previously reported in March that Shirley MacLaine will reprise her role as Martha Levinson in the new season. MacLaine first appeared on the show last season and her character is the mother of Lady Grantham, portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern, the American wife of Lord Grantham (played by Hugh Bonneville).

MacLaine's character often traded barbs with Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. Smith won the 2013 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role.

Last season, the award winning show lost series regulars Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil). In March, Siobhan Finneran, who played the scheming maid Sarah O'Brien, said that she would not return for the show's fourth season.

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