It is not a place famed for its aristocratic links but the ‘helicopter town’ of Yeovil will find itself fit for a Duchess when the next series of Downton Abbey hits television screens.
Actress Joanna David, mother of fellow actress Emilia Fox will join the cast of the hit ITV drama, playing the Duchess of Yeovil.
Downton Abbey’s creator, Oscar-winning actor Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, lives 25 miles away in the Dorset village from which he has taken his own title and he has clearly had fun giving fictional life to other communities.
Tom Cullen will play dashing Lord Gillingham, lined up as a possible love interest for the widowed Lady Mary. Viewers will have to wait until the new series starts in September to discover whether Gillingham is pronounced as in Gillingham Dorset, or as in Gillingham, Kent, but the odds are on a win for Dorset.
Yeovil has featured in a peer’s title in the recent past. Former Conservative Minister for Transport and former Yeovil MP John Peyton, who died in 2006, was created Baron Peyton of Yeovil when he was elevated to the Lords following his retirement as an MP.
Opera star Dame Kiri Te Kawana will make a guest appearance singing at a party to help lift Lady Mary’s spirits after the death of her husband, Matthew Crawley, who died in a car crash hours after the birth of their first child in the final episode of the last series.