Irish actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy has been cast in the second series of ITV's acclaimed period drama 'Downton Abbey'.

Doyle Kennedy will play Vera Bates, the wife of valet John Bates (Brendan Coyle).

The 'Tudors' star is one of five new cast members announced by ITV.

Former 'Emmerdale' star Amy Nuttall will play a new housemaid, Ethel.

'Song for a Raggy Boy' and 'Spooks' star Iain Glen will play Sir Richard Carlisle.

'Wild at Heart' star Cal Macaninch will play a new valet, Lang, while 'Sons of Anarchy' star Zoe Boyle will play Lavinia Swire.

Production has already begun on the second series.