Everyone’s favourite period drama of manners, ‘Downton Abbey’ is heading back to our screens for a fifth season. If you’re in the UK the wait isn't too long with the season premiere set for this autumn, but things are slightly more frustrating for the drama’s loyal US fanbase who’ll have to wait until January 4th for the new episodes. But it’s not all bad news, this week the cast and executive producer Gareth Neame have given away some exciting new details about the fifth season, which looks to be as drama packed as ever. So to ease your ‘Downton Abbey’ wait, here’s everything we know so far about season five.

Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey Magge Smith is back again as Violet Crawley

1. The Dowager Countess will take center stage

Lets face it, Dame Maggie Smith’s is one of the best things about ‘Downton Abbey’, as Violet Crawley she manages to steal pretty much every scene she’s in, even if it’s just with a knowing glance. But as much as we love the Dowager Countess we can't actually say we know that much about her. But all could be revealed in season five however as Gareth Neame has confirmed Violet will finally get to take center stage with her own ‘brilliant’ storyline. Let’s hope it’s suitably scandalous.

2. New characters!

As usual expect some fantastic visitors calling at Downton this season including none other than Richard E Grant. But the visitor we’re most looking forward to meeting is Lady Anstruther played by Anna Chancellor (aka Duckface from Four Weddings and A Funeral). According to Michelle Dockery Anstruther is a “troublemaker” who “comes to the house and creates havoc." Sounds exactly like the kind of house guest we wanted for Downton.

More: Julian Fellowes Admits That 'Downton Abbey' Could End Next Season

3. The old Mary is back

Poor Mary had a rough season four adjusting to life without husband Matthew, however it appears her mourning period may finally be over. Michelle Dockery has promised more of the ‘old Mary’ this season revealing the character has “got a bit of her bite back.” We can't wait!

More: Not So Fast! Your Favorite "Downton" Characters Are Never Safe, Says Creator Julian Fellowes

4. More trouble for Anna and Bates?

Has there ever been a more unfortunate t.v. couple? Anna and Mr Bates just seem to never catch a break and things probably wont change much in the fifth season. As the couple continue to deal with Anna’s rape it seems more trouble is in store. Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna, has said “There's a lot of pressure for her and Bates. They're both keeping secrets from each other.” Still that’s not going to make us stop holding out for a happy ending with these two.

Nest, what's in store for Branson next season?