(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
Downton Abbey's first black character will be introduced in the near future, according to new casting reports from the hit PBS show.
According to reports, scriptwriters will bring in a new character called Jack Ross, who will be part of a new storyline about race relations in the 1920s. Britain's The Sun newspaper has said that the rumors have been spurned from notices sent to casting agents looking for the right person to fill the new roll.
One of the main long-running themes in Downton Abbey has been a constant suspicion of outsiders by the main characters, and this new race relations storyline will plug into those same suspicions.
So far the characters have been restricted to Americans and Catholics, but with the introduction of the new black character the scriptwriters seem to be looking to expand the cast and explore wider issues related to race. Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes, has however said they will be careful to keep the theme conversational and witty rather than anything more vicious and aggressive.
When Season 3 of Downton Abbey was concluded the storyline did hint about a new musician development; Rose, who is the daughter of Lord Grantham's cousin Hugh MacClare, snuck out to an after hours jazz club. She was however whisked away by Matthew, who in fact concluded Season 3 in an overturned car.
Casting notes for the character of Jack Ross have described the new cast member as "handsome" with "charm and charisma."
According to The Sun, other new characters who are being prepared to be introduced in Season 4 will be a pair of aristocrats - one of whom is a potential love interest for the widowed Lady Mary, and the other is supposedly a cad who may have a drinking problem.
Season 4 of Downton Abbey will commence filming on March 23, 2013.