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First Black Character to Appear on ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abbey will introduce its first black character in its next season, in a storyline that handles issues of race in the 1920s. According to the UK’s leading tabloid, The Sun, the show is searching for an actor to play the character of a musician named Jack Ross, and distributed casting notices earlier this month to actors’ agents. Casting requirements for the part described Jack as a male club singer aged between 25 and 30. The notes outlined a “black and very handsome… real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma,” who can “ideally be able to sing brilliantly.” In other Downton news, there will also be a new beau for Lady Mary Crawley — Lord Anthony Gillingham, who will assist the family with their financial problems. Another new character, Sir John Bullock, sounds like he’ll be a laugh – his casting notes require that his actor “must be able to act drunk.” Filming for the next season will commence March 23rd.