Jim Carter, who plays Mr Carson the butler in hit period drama Downton Abbey, has hit out at the ‘old Etonians’ who he says are still running the country.

The actor, whose character is a stickler for tradition in the downstairs half of Downton, told the Radio Times there were ‘very few similarities’ between him and Carson.

He said: “We have a Tory cabinet stuffed full of old Etonians – so what’s changed? Is this Harold Macmillan or is this 2013? And being embarrassed about (their background) doesn’t stop them being it, I don’t suppose. People always strive for more – whether it’s more social status or more money or more possessions. Hopefully all that will be shown up for the crock of s*** it is, and people will forget about it. Maybe if enough bankers do us a favour and ruin the economy, maybe we’ll say, ‘Shall we just back out of this system?'”

Fans of the show will see Jim in the Christmas Day special alongside guest star Paul Giamatti, who is joining the cast to play Lady Grantham’s brother. Shirley MacLaine also returns as Lady Grantham’s mother Martha and James Fox joins the cast as aristocrat Lord Aysgarth.

The two-hour stand-alone episode of the award-winning ITV series, which will be shown at 8.30pm on Christmas Day, picks up the story six months on from the end of series four.