Richard E Grant and Four Weddings and a Funeral Star Anna Chancellor are joining the cast of Downton Abbey for series five.

Withnail and I star Richard, who also starred in Downton creator Julian Fellowes’ film Gosford Park, will appear in ITV’s period drama as Simon Bricker, who visits the country estate as a guest of Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his family.

The eight-part new series, which will screen along with a Christmas special later this year, will also feature Anna, most recently seen in Inside No 9 and Fleming, as Lady Anstruther, while Russian star Rade Sherbedgia, whose credits include 24 and Eyes Wide Shut, will play Kuragin, a Russian refugee who fled the revolution.

Harriet Walter will also reprise her role in the new series as Lady Shackleton, a friend of Violet (Maggie Smith), and Peter Egan will be back as Lord Flintshire, the father of flighty Rose (Lily James).

“We are delighted to welcome these talented actors to the world of Downton. The characters they play are set to bring yet more excitement and intrigue to the show,” says Downton’s executive producer Gareth Neame.