While some of us will forever remember Richard E. Grant from "Withnail and I," he's moving into far tonier role. The actor (who has also appeared in classy stuff like "Gosford Park" and "The Age of Innocence") is set to join the cast of "Downton Abbey" for the show's fifth season. He's not the only one, either. 

While Grant will be playing the role of Simon Bricker, who visits Downton Abbey as a guest of the Granthams, Anna Chancellor ("The Hour," "Four Weddings and a Funeral") will be taking on a role as Lady Anstruther. Also on deck will be Rade Sherbedgia ("Eyes Wide Shut," "24") as a Russian refugee. 

Returning guest cast member Dame Harriet Walter will reprise her role as Lady Shackleton,
along with Peter Egan, returning as Lord Flintshire.
 
"Masterpiece" Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton says, "We look forward to introducing these new characters to our 'Masterpiece' audience. They will make a wonderful addition to the beloved Downton Abbey ensemble." In other words, no clues as to what the new characters will be doing. 
 
Downton Abbey’s Executive Producer Gareth Neame, the Managing Director of Carnival Films, says, “We are delighted to welcome these talented actors to the world of Downton. The characters they play are set to bring yet more excitement and intrigue to the show.” 
 
The good news is that all our favorites will be back (so, hopefully, no horrible car accident or postpartum deaths). The new season will feature returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Rob James-Collier, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift and Andrew Scarborough.
 
The fourth season of Downton Abbey, which concludes on February 23, hit a new record high in the U.S. with its Season 4 opener, averaging 15 million viewers, an increase of 39 percent from the Season 3 opening episode. The show’s third season became the highest rated TV drama in PBS’ history and reached over 24 million viewers, a 7 million increase on Season 2. Downton Abbey is now one of the highest rated dramas on American Television.
 
Are you excited about Richard E. Grant joining the show?