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Downton's bad boy gets dressing down from new lady of the manor

DOWNTON Abbey actress Shirley MacLaine stunned the show's bad boy Rob James-Collier by pouncing on him the minute she arrived on set.

The Apartment star was already a big fan of the show and when she first met the cast she made a beeline for James-Collier -- only to give him a piece of her mind about footman Thomas's bad behaviour.

MacLaine has joined the cast of the hit show as Martha Levinson, the wealthy mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).

James-Collier revealed: "It was a completely surreal experience. At rehearsals, this Hollywood icon was looking for someone. And everyone was there, and she went 'It's you!' pointing at me.

"And I did the classic 'She can't be talking to me'.

"She came over to me and she's like 'The evil one! Why are you so evil?!'.

"And I was like 'Hello Shirley, nice to meet you, I'm Rob,' and she was like 'Never mind that, why are you so evil?'

"She is a massive fan of the show."

The new series of Downton Abbey will go out on ITV1 in the autumn.

hnews@herald.ie