First Peek at ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3 (VIDEO)

First Peek at 'Downton Abbey' Season 3 (VIDEO)
By Amanda Walgrove
  • Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine was honored on Sunday night with the America Film Institute’s 40th Life Achievement Award, and Downton Abbey fans were treated to an unexpected clip.

    The celebration aired on TV Land as Elizabeth McGovern, who portrays Downton Abbey‘s Lady Cora, presented the award to MacLaine, who has been cast as Lady Cora’s mother, Marth Levinson, in Downton‘s highly anticipated third season.

    TV Land used the opportunity to premiere a sneak peek clip of Martha’s return to the Downton estate and first edgy rapport with Lord Grantham’s sharp-tongued mother, Violet the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith.

    The third series is set to broadcast stateside in January 2012 on PBS, following its U.K. premiere in September 2012 on ITV.

    Is MacLaine’s Martha a match for the acerbic Dowager Countess?

  • Here’s a higher quality clip with a bit of the dialogue cut off.