Downton the movie is on! But when?
I say it loud, I say it proud. I LOVE costume dramas! Pass me my knitting and slippers, it’s my not-so guilty pleasure. A void was left when the final credits rolled on 25 Dec 2015, and Carson turned out the lights for the last time at Downton. Mr Selfridge briefly filed the void, War & Peace and Victoria certainly hit the spot and The Crown (OK not a bodice ripper, but retro) is so good I watched it twice. However, when talk of Downton the movie started circulating, my heart skipped a beat.
Julian Fellowes has often said he would love to see his upstairs downstairs yarn on the big screen, but without the green light from Hollywood, Downton is sentenced to a lifetime of repeats on ITV Encore. However, rumour has it filming is due to start soon after a production source disclosed that Fellowes remains very keen, ‘the financial ducks are being lined up very nicely’ and that an an announcement could be ‘imminent’.
Speculation was fuelled when Jim Carter, who plays Carson the butler, recently spilled that the cast members ‘have been asked to keep ourselves available at dates in the future’.
Dame Maggie Smith is said to be returning as the waspish Dowager Countess, alongside Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Lily James as Lily Rose and Hugh Bonneville is said to be ‘cool with anything so long as his name is not over the dog’s bum in the opening credits’ – the howler even had its own hashtag on twitter #houndsbum. Hell yes! Who cares about a dog’s bottom, let’s do this.
There are a few hurdles to overcome. Not least, the diaries of the cast. Michelle Dockery, Lily James and Hugh Bonneville are all in the middle of projects. Michelle is currently starring in Good Behavior as con artist Letty Raines, an American TV drama based on the novella series by Blake Crouch for TNT. She also stars in the British film A Sense of an Ending based on the Booker-winning novel by Julian Barnes. Due out in April.
Lily James (who’s is one of the most successful Downton cast members) has a number of film roles coming up following the success of Cinderella. She is currently filming World War 2 movie Darkest Hour with Kristen Scott Thomas, John Hurt and Gary Oldman with two more projects in pre-production.
Hugh Bonneville is busy filming Paddington 2 with Hugh Grant, Juilie Walters and Ben Wishaw. He also a film out in March, Viceroy’s House. Bonneville stars as Lord Mountbatten with Gillan Anderson and Michael Gambon. Elizabeth McGovern, Dame Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Phyllis Logan, Jim Carter and Elizabeth McGovern all appear to be available. Hallelujah.
In the meantime, we’ll have to watch the old episodes or enjoy a real life love affair with Downton Abbey by heading to Highclere Castle on the Berkshire/ Hampshire border to get our fix. The Earl and Countess Carnarvon are hosting romantic Valentine’s Champagne Afternoon Tea and Champagne & Canapés events following a tour of the castle on Sat 11 Feb and Sun 11 Feb. Tickets from £120. Now where did I put my tiara…