Downton Abbey Season 5: Six Big Scoops!

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Downton Abbey Season 5 will premiere on Sunday, January 4 in the United States.

That's a long time from now.

Fortunately, stars Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Michelle Dockery and Joanne Froggatt were joined by executive producer Gareth Neame at the TCA Summer Press Tour yesterday to offer up a few scoops that ought to help whet the appetites of fans until early 2015.

To wit...

Downton Abbey Cast Picture

Downton Abbey Season 5 will pick up six months after the season four finale, meaning we'll meet back up with the crew around 1924.

New characters will include Lady Anstruther (Anna Chancellor), who Carmichael refers to as "a troublemaker" and who Neame says is "looking for something."

Mary will be done mourning. "I think this year, she's quite impulsive," Dockery said. "She's embracing her new life, really... she's got a bit of her bite back."

Anna's rape and how it affects her relationship with Mr. Bates will continue to be a focus. Says Froggatt: "I think that starting season five, you see her obviously changed by what happened to her. There's a lot of pressure for her and Bates. They're both keeping secrets from each other."

Mary and Tom may not hook up this season, but their relationship will only grow deeper as they work to make sure the state prospers into the future. "They come together on a united front," Leech said.

As for Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson, who were seen holding hands on the beach? There could be a romantic possibility there. "We all hope for them to get together," Leech said. "It would be a lovely story."

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Downton Abbey Quotes

Aunt Rosamund: That was nice of you, to praise Edith's plan.
Mary: A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.

Anna, help me do battle with this monstrosity. It looks like a creature from the lost world.