Downton Abbey Casts First Black Character, Has It Taken Too Long?

Actor Gary Carr has been cast as the first black character on ITV's hugely popular series Downton Abbey. Exectuive producer Gareth Naeme said on Wednesday that the British actor would play Jack Ross, a jazz musician who will have a "recurring role" on the forthcoming season four.

Jazz was introduced to the Downton world in a brief scene in the last year, when Matthew Crawley rescued his niece from an after-hours club. News of the black character made headlines earlier this year, when casting notes were sent out to agents. It described Ross as "Male, 25-30. A musician (singer) at an exclusive club in the 20s. He's black and very handsome. A real man (not a boy) with charm and charisma." The note also said that whoever landed the role should "ideally be able to sing brilliantly," and added, "Overall he should be a very attractive man with a certain wow factor."

It turned out that professionally trained Gary Carr ticked all the boxes. Since graduating from the National Youth Music Theatre of Great Britain, Arts Educational Performing Arts College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Carr has appeared in roles for the BBC and ITV and played the lead role in the Royal National Theatre's stage production of the Terry Pratchett novel Nation.

Watch a clip of Gary Carr in Klink Klank:


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