Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern has admitted that she wasn't as keen on the drama's second series.

The actress, who plays Cora, Countess of Grantham in the Julian Fellowes' ITV1 period drama, said that the first instalment was more to her taste.

She told The LA Times: There is a slightly different tone to the second season, partly because the show had to deal with this huge elephant which is the First World War, and in some ways Downton Abbey wasn't set up for that.

"What's made the show successful and different is that attention to character detail and that's what the audience likes... Writers [in the second season] had to do a lot of glossing over the domestic life, and some of the small moments between characters that characterised the first season."

Elizabeth added: "It's kind of a taste thing, and the show in the first season was more to my taste than the show in the second season."

Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine is set to appear in series three as Martha Levinson, the wealthy mother of Elizabeth's character.