Downton Abbey: Film sequel set for Christmas release

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Image caption,
Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Allen Leech attended the Downton Abbey world premiere in London in 2019

The historical drama Downton Abbey is set to return to the big screen this Christmas, it has been announced.

The original ITV series ran for six series before it was turned into a feature film in 2019, starring Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.

It saw the central Crawley family and Downton staff receive a royal visit.

The film-makers said they were "thrilled" to welcome back the entire cast, plus fresh stars such as Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock and Dominic West.

Downton creator Julian Fellowes will return to write the screenplay for the film, which will be released in UK cinemas on 22 December.

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Producer Gareth Neame suggested the announcement would give fans something to look forward to at the end of a difficult period.

"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 re-united with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey," he said.

Media caption,
The Downton Abbey stars on the pressure of the movie at its world premiere

Set on a fictional Yorkshire country estate in the early part of the 20th Century, Downton Abbey depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants.

The TV series was showered with awards from Bafta, the Emmys and the Golden Globes.

Bonneville - who will again portray Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham - declared it was "good to be back" in a tweet that showed him sporting a fashionable face covering.

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Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Penelope Wilton and Jim Carter also form part of Downton's large ensemble cast.

Also on Monday, actor Ed Speleers - who played Downton footman Jimmy Kent - revealed plans to run 200 km in two days to raise money for a dementia charity.

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