Maggie Smith has ‘brilliant storylines’ in Downton Abbey 5

Dame Maggie Smith will have a ‘brilliant storyline’ in the next series of Downton Abbey, the show’s executive producer has said.

All eyes will be on the icy Dowager Countess in series five of the ITV period drama, which also stars Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.

Gareth Neame, Downton’s executive producer, told TV Line: “She has a brilliant storyline this season.

“It’s Downton at its best, this storyline. It’s fantastic.”

He hinted that viewers should expect something a little different from the next series.

“We have the high-stakes drama, the laugh-out-loud comedy and the romance. We have all of the characters doing the things people love to see them doing, but we have a few really nice twists and turns as well,” he said.

He added: “Every episode, we’ll be having some guest; people come in and out. The show is always a melting pot of the regular characters in addition to guests.”