TV News

Downton Abbey: Maggie Smith & Shirley MacLaine Face Off in Season 3 Promo

Monday August 20, 2012 11:40 AM EDT

Season 3 of Downton Abbey won't air in the U.S. until Jan. 6, but Britain's ITV is already promoting the return of the hit costume drama.

In the first of two 20-second clips, the Granthams are discussing the arrival of Lady Cora's mother Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine, from America.

"I'm so looking forward to seeing your mother again," says Lady Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. "When I'm with her I'm reminded of the virtues of the English."

"Isn't she American?" asks Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens.

"Exactly," quips Smith.

And in another clip (which asks "Will the Dowager Countess finally meet her match?"), we get to see Smith and MacLaine in one of their first encounters.

"You Americans never understand the importance of tradition," Smith tells her rival.

MacLaine, in her '20s-era finest, responds: "Yes we do. We just don't give it power over us. Maybe you should think about letting go of its hand."

And with that – Smith storms out.

"Amazing day on Downton Abbey set. I love the British humor and temperament and functionality," MacLaine Tweeted from the set in February. "Maggie so subtle and so much fun!"