Downton Abbey 2 has began filming, Hugh Bonneville has confirmed.
The actor, 57, took to Twitter on Monday to reveal he was on set, as he stated: ‘Good to be back’, while the show’s official Twitter shared further details.
In the announcement, bosses confirmed that Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West have joined the cast while a Christmas release date was confirmed.
Happy to be back! Downton Abbey 2 has began filming
Producer Gareth Neame said: ‘After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be reunited with the beloved characters.’
Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said: ‘There’s no place like home for the holidays, and we can’t imagine a better gift than getting to reunite with Julian, Gareth, and the entire family in 2021 to bring the Crawleys back home for their fans.’
In February, Hugh revealed he’d seen a script for a Downton Abbey film sequel, saying it’s likely to happen once Covid is ‘under control in a sensible way’.
The star, who plays Lord Grantham in the movie and previous series of the hit period drama, chatted about plans for another film on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.
Back again: Hugh Bonneville took to Twitter on Monday to reveal he was on set, as he stated: ‘Good to be back’, while the show’s official Twitter shared further details
He told the BBC Radio 2 show: ‘Here’s the deal, if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie, we will make a movie.’
The actor, who has acted as a volunteer marshal at a COVID vaccination centre, told Zoe he’s seen a script for the film and added: ‘The planets are circling. They are beginning to get into alignment.
‘There is a thing called coronavirus knocking around and until that is under control in a sensible way, we are not going to be able to get all those ducks in a row.’
An honour: He told the BBC Radio 2 show: ‘Here’s the deal, if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie, we will make a movie’
He added: ‘But there is certainly the intention to do it. We would love to do it. We are desperate to do it.’
Hugh also said that he thinks audiences would ‘enjoy’ another Downton movie after the ‘mess we have been through’ in the past year.
The Downton Abbey movie saw beloved characters Robert (Hugh) and Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) told that they will be visited by the King and Queen and the estate have to prepare for the royal visit.
Fingers crossed: Hugh said ‘if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie’ (pictured Michelle Dockery as Mary and Elizabeth as Cora in the 2019 film)
However the family have to deal with a number of set backs and problems along the way including a suspected assassin attempt.
Cast members including Matthew Goode, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Dame Maggie Smith all returned for the film.
The Daily Mail revealed that Maggie Smith, who plays Violet Crawley, and French actress Nathalie Baye will appear together in Downton 2.
Interesting: The sequel is thought to be Dowager Countess Violet Crawley’s last hurrah and will see her friend come to visit (Maggie pictured in character with Imelda Staunton)
Downton 2 will be the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s last hurrah. The theatrical dame has been delighting Downton fans since the series, created by Julian Fellowes, launched on ITV back in 2010.
In the new Downton film, Ms Baye will play an old friend of Violet’s who comes to visit her. Of course, the countess will be surrounded, as usual, by her family — including Hugh’s Lord Grantham and Elizabeth McGovern as his wife Cora.
Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary and husband Henry (Matthew Goode) will be centre stage, too; along with her sister, Lady Edith, played by Laura Carmichael.