Charles Dance: I would have loved a part in Downton Abbey

 

Suave star Charles Dance has said he would have loved a role in TV hit Downton Abbey but show bosses have never asked him.

The 66-year-old actor, who has previously worked with Downton creator Julian Fellowes in the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, revealed he would now be unwilling to accept a cameo role in the show.

Dance - who now appears in fantasy epic series Game Of Thrones - said he regarded Gosford, which also featured Dame Maggie Smith as a dowager countess, as one of the inspirations for the ITV drama series.

He said: "If I'd been asked to do it I probably would have done it, but I wasn't. I did Gosford Park, which was I think the germ from which Downton Abbey grew, and that was written by Julian.

"Of course, it's enjoying enormous success and it's got a big fanbase - if I was asked to do something in it now it would probably just be to guest in it, and now I wouldn't want to do that."

Dance, whose appearances have included a starring role in acclaimed drama The Jewel In The Crown, now appears as the villainous Lord Lannister in hit HBO drama Game Of Thrones.

He lamented what he felt was a lack of effort to produce quality drama on British television.

He said: "I have to be careful because I tend to get up on a soapbox a bit about this.

"But, especially, the BBC seems to be putting more time and energy into real estate at the moment and junk reality television and stuff.

"We are capable of doing it, we have a lot of very, very skilled people here, but you get what you pay for.

"I think if you make something of real quality people will buy it, and it has a life span, rather than reality television shows that comes and go really quickly."

A third season of Game Of Thrones begins on Sky Atlantic on April 1 while the second series is out on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday.

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