The makers of 'Downton Abbey' are to recruit more titled performers in an attempt to stem falling viewing figures and a failure to win more than one of the Emmy awards it was nominated for. Dame Maggie Smith did win Best Supporting Actress but non titled performers didn't get a look in.
'Downton' which was incredibly popular in it's first series has been seen as suffering from 'Mork and Mindy' syndrome. This is where producers take a surprise hit show and attempt to make it even more popular by adding new characters and storylines to appeal to certain demographics. The result is that original fans are alienated while the new target audiences just don't tune in. The producers then get desperate and star throwing in characters just like those on other popular shows.
The makers of Downton Abbey have already approached Barry Humphries and he will be appearing in the 'Downton' Christmas Special as Dame Edna's grandmother making a surprise visit from Australia.
Sir Tom Jones is set to appear in the next series as a rich Welsh mine owner bent on mining the grounds of the fictional stately home for coal. This echoes real life events in the aftermath of the First War when stately homes built on coal rich land were bought up for what was beneath them. Also set to appear in a one off as a piano teacher is Sir Elton John.
In her first acting role Dame Ellen MacArthur will play the tough lady captain of a coal ship owned by Sir Tom's character and which brings Dame Edna from down under. Meanwhile Sir David Jason will appear as the man from Harrods bought in to rebrand the Manchester department store Kendals as a Harrods Branch. This pays lip service to what actually happened in the 1920's. The Producers hope that all of these titles will score a couple more Emmys if not series five will feature someone doing an impersonation of Gary Coleman.