Amid the controversy surrounding who will or who will not be in 'Downton Abbey' for the soon-to-be-aired series 3, it ia definite that Matthew, Sybil and O'Brien are all in the series. There were some dark clouds over whether or not they may have to re-cast or eliminate some characters even after filing had started as the 3 actors who play the characters wanted more money to continue. Thankfully, it was all sorted out and the cast list (with the addition of Shirley Maclaine) has been formally announced by ITV, along with a Season 3 cast photo.
Still no OFFICIAL confirmation about whether there will be a series four and five but the rumours continue to buzz, most particularly in the US. I will certainly let you know as soon as anything official comes down. Meanwhile, screening dates have yet to be formally announced for the third series but it will most likely be late September as the usual Auntumn premiere is definite.