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Downton Abbey star Imelda Staunton announces plans for third and final film

Actor revealed news in new radio interview

Nicole Vassell
Wednesday 20 March 2024 13:45 GMT
Downton Abbey: A New Era trailer

Downton Abbey fans can breathe sighs of relief as Imelda Staunton, a star of the series’ two films, has confirmed that a further edition is in the works.

Rumours of a third film leading on from the massively popular ITV period drama have been swirling for months, as well as whispers of a seventh season of the television show since last summer.

Staunton featured on Wednesday’s edition (20 March) of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2.

As well as talking about her West End return in the London Palladium production of Hello Dolly!, the actor and singer, 68, also gave a hint about the future of Downton.

When asked by Ball whether she’d be able to share anything about plans for the Downton story, Staunton replied: “There will be the final film – there you go.”

The series, which originally aired on ITV from 2010 to 2015, followed the lives of an aristocratic Yorkshire family in the years between 1912 and 1926, and featured an ensemble cast that included Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay.

In the 2019 film Downton Abbey, and the 2022 sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era, Staunton played the character Lady Maud Bagshaw – a verbal sparring partner of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Imelda Staunton (centre) and Maggie Smith (right) in ‘Downton Abbey’ (Liam Daniel/Focus Features/Kobal/Shutterstock)

Lady Bagshaw is a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, as well as a cousin of the Crawleys, the story’s central family.

Though the second film grossed $92.7m (£73m) worldwide, The Independent’s two-star review likened it to “a dinner party guest that won’t shut up and go home”.

Last month, a report in the Daily Mail claimed that a revival series began filming a few weeks prior, and is expected to arrive on screens “by the end of the year”.

Imelda Staunton (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The outlet quoted a source close to the production as saying: “Filming has been going on for a few weeks now, it is all very, very secret. There are people working on it who have never seen secrecy like it.

“Those working on the set have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements so that they don’t give the game away but there is a lot of excitement at the return of Downton.”

However, the series has not been commissioned for ITV, The Independent understands.

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