'Someone is not going to make it': Major Downton Abbey character to be killed off in series three
17:17 GMT, 7 April 2012
The deaths of two supporting characters in the last series of Downton Abbey was enough to shock fans.
So they'd better brace themselves for the autumn after it was announced today that a major member of the household is set to be killed off in the upcoming third series.
Executive producer Rebecca Eaton let slip that a leading star will die when the show returns in September.
Death at the Abbey: One of Downton's leading character will be killed off in the upcoming third series
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, she said the star is 'pretty key in the cast' and added: 'Somebody will be born, and somebody will die.
'Somebody pretty key in the cast [is] unfortunately not going to make it.'
She gave no hints as to who it might be, but the baby could be born to Lady Sybil, played by Jessica Brown Findlay and her chauffeur-turned-journalist husband Tom Branson, who, as it was revealed in the Christmas special, are expecting their first child.
New arrival: Lady Sybil and her chauffeur-turned-journalist husband Branson are expecting a baby
Eaton also admitted that Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess, can be a 'handful' during filming.
She said: 'Maggie Smith is a handful, it's true.
She's very difficult. She knows her worth, and she's tricky on the set,
but she delivers when the time comes.'
Viewers can expect sparks between Dame Maggie's character and new arrival Martha Levinson, Countess Crawley's mother played by Hollywood legend Shirley MacLaine.
She said: 'There are some wonderful scenes between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine – Shirley MacLaine being ditsy as ever.
Difficult: Executive producer Rebecca Eaton revealed that Dame Maggie Smith is a handful like her character Dowager Countess
'And Maggie barely restraining her sneer in having to deal with this American.'
And Eaton said that the early-awaited marriage between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley will go ahead.
During filming of the wedding scenes, bosses went to great lengths to keep them hidden until they air and hired security guards to keep photographers away and hid Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, behind screens and huge umbrellas so not to reveal her wedding dress.
Shrouded in secrecy: Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley will marry in the third series but the wedding scenes were shot undercover