As huge fans of Downton Abbey here at mc.co.uk, we've been counting the days until the hit period drama's return. And today we're officially thrilled. The very first official picture from Downton Abbey Series 3 has been released - giving us the very first sneak peek at the show's newest face.
The brand new still, which shows the cast on the imposing Grantham estate (actually Highclere House) includes Oscar-winner Shirley Maclaine, who will play Lady Grantham's mother, Martha Levinson.
Although the new series has been shrouded in secrecy, it's thought it will focus on the Crawley's financial difficulties, as well as the political troubles in Ireland.
Earlier this year, new snaps emerged of the cast hard at work on series 3 of the show, on location in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.
Trio Sophie McShera as Daisy, Siobhan Finneran, who plays Lady Grantham's maid O'Brien and and Allen Leach, chauffeur-turned-activist Branson were spied making their way towards a church for their super-secret series 3 scenes, believed to be a wedding between middle Grantham sister Lady Edith and Sir Anthony Strallen.
Last week it was announced the British has been nominated for a whopping 16 Emmys this year, with Actress Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley and actor Hugh Bonneville, The Earl of Grantham, winning nominations for best actor and actress respectively, and Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt in the Supporting actress in a drama series category.
Are you looking forward to Downton Abbey series 3? What do you think the cast will have in store? Let us know in the comments box below…