Downton Abbey: Fans get a quick glimpse of Shirley MacLaine as she makes her debut

FIRST LOOK: Fans get a quick glimpse of Shirley MacLaine as she makes her debut on Downton Abbey

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UPDATED:

14:44 GMT, 25 June 2012

Ever since it was announced at the beginning of the year that she would be joining the cast of Downton Abbey, fans have been dying to see Shirley MacLaine in action.

And thanks to one viewer they've caught a first glimpse of the 78-year-old in her latest role after a clip of the upcoming series was shown at a recent awards ceremony.

One hardcore fan took it upon themselves to film their own television screen as during a tribute to MacLaine, the American Film Institute aired a world premiere clip from the third series.

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First look: Shirley MacLaine makes her debut as Martha Levinson on series three of Downton Abbey

First look: Shirley MacLaine makes her debut as Martha Levinson on series three of Downton Abbey

MacLaine's character Martha Levinson had already been described as the perfect match for the Countess of Grantham, who is played by Dame Maggie Smith, and it just so happens that the short clip showed the pair of them meeting once again.

As they greet each other in an awkward embrace, Martha steps back and says to the Countess: 'Oh dear, I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both.'

But she replies frostily: 'Oh I wouldn't say that but then I always keep out of the sun. How do you find Downton on your return'

She's met her match: Fans of the show will be looking forward to MacLaine's relationship with Dame Maggie Smith's character The Countess of Grantham

She's met her match: Fans of the show will be looking forward to MacLaine's relationship with Dame Maggie Smith's character The Countess of Grantham

'Oh it's the same really, probably too much the same but then I don't want to cast a ball over all the happiness,' she answers, before the Countess adds sarcastically: 'How could you ever do that'

MacLaine takes on the role of Lady Grantham's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, and judging by the first look, things are going to be frosty between the two older characters.

MacLaine, who won the best actress Oscar in 1983 for Terms Of Endearment and was nominated for a further six Academy Awards, began filming with the rest of the cast in February and the next series is set to air on ITV1 in September.

A frosty hello: MacLaine's charcter comes across as sarcastic as she says: 'I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both.'

A frosty hello: MacLaine's charcter comes across as sarcastic as she says: 'I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both.'

When it was first announced that MacLaine would be joining the cast, producer Gareth Neame, said: 'My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.

'Julian (Fellowes) has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her.'

Mother and daughter: The Oscar winner is taking on the role of the Earl's wife's mother who is played by Elizabeth McGovern (R)

Mother and daughter: The Oscar winner is taking on the role of the Earl's wife's mother who is played by Elizabeth McGovern (R)

Mother and daughter: The Oscar winner is taking on the role of the Earl's wife's mother who is played by Elizabeth McGovern (R)