downton abbey christmas special 2013 paul giamatti 'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Christmas special pics: Paul Giamatti swings into townThe “Downton Abbey” Christmas episode has some more details and photos released, care of ITV, the network in Britain that produces the popular drama. Spoiler alert — don’t keep reading if you don’t want to be spoiled.

We already know the two-hour special will take place heavily in London (Buckingham Palace, here we come!) and feature actors playing the real-life King George V and the Prince of Wales. Now we have a bit more information about the program. More of the episode description reads:

The family and servants are at Grantham House, their London residence, preparing for the busy social program. Not one to miss such a grand occasion, Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson makes the journey from New York with her playboy son Harold, fresh from his recent brush with the law. Both outspoken and larger-than-life, they make quite an impression amongst certain members of London’s high society, in particular with Lord Aysgarth, played by James Fox.
Isobel finds herself with an admirer while Edith is wrestling with a moral dilemma. Downstairs, Daisy gets an unexpected invitation and Carson treats the staff to a special day out.

We were wondering what would become of Lady Edith, with her pregnancy and planned trip to Switzerland with Aunt Rosamund. Does mean she hasn’t decided what to do yet? And could Michael Gregson perhaps still turn up for her? That would be a Christmas miracle indeed. We do hope that happens.

In these pictures, check out Shirley MacLaine‘s triumphant return as Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson, and Paul Giamatti‘s debut as her brother, Harold. Dashing playboy, indeed. Above, he sits with actress Poppy Drayton, who is playing Lord Aysgarth’s daughter Madeline.

Get excited, fans. The Christmas special airs Dec. 25 in the U.K. and the full Season 4 begins in the U.S. on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014.

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."