"Downton Abbey" to introduce first black cast member

The Season 4 role plays into a story line about race relations in the 1920s

By Prachi Gupta

Published February 26, 2013 9:00PM (EST)

           (Masterpiece/Giles Keyte)
(Masterpiece/Giles Keyte)

Following up the November announcement to "open the show up ethnically" on "Downton Abbey," casting notes obtained by the Sun today reveal that the show has settled upon casting a black actor to play a jazz musician Jack Ross in the upcoming season.

The Sun reports:

"Casting notes were sent out to actors’ agents earlier this month. They describe Ross as “Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s.

'He’s black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma.'

"Whoever lands the role should 'ideally be able to sing brilliantly'. The notes add: 'Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor.' Jack Ross will play a key part in the fourth series of the hit TV saga alongside a string of other fresh faces."

No word on who's being considered for the part, but the Huffington Post has a couple of suggestions here, which include "Cloud Atlas's" David Gyasi and comedian Donald Glover, whose character already brought some short-lived diversity to the HBO show "Girls" this season.

Although show creator Julian Fellowes also said in November that the show "certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period," no plans to cast an Indian actor have been revealed.


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

MORE FROM Prachi GuptaFOLLOW prachiguLIKE Prachi Gupta

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

1920s Downton Abbey Jazz Julian Fellowes Race Relations