George Clooney in Downton Abbey? I want more Hollywood stars on British TV

The gates to the estate are now wide open for the great, the good and the seriously famous to wander onto our screens - and we should welcome them, says Ellie Walker-Arnott

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I assume you’ve heard the news?

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That George Clooney – internationally renowned dreamboat, bona fide A-lister and possibly the most famous man on the entire planet – is poised to show his face at a Downton Abbey soiree on ITV.

All this time we thought his visit to Highclere Castle back in May was him scoping out wedding venues for his upcoming nuptials, when in actual fact he was filming a special sketch for ITV’s Christmas charity fundraiser Text Santa. 

The 53-year-old star, whose previous roles include parts in Oscar-winners Gravity and The Descendants, will reportedly play an American guest at a wedding which is taking place at the Abbey.

A source told The Sun that Clooney’s appearance “is the biggest moment in Downton history and shows it’s now the biggest drama in the world.” And we can’t help but agree. 

I knew Downton was popular in America – it’s already attracted some pretty high profile stars like Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti – but when Clooney’s making cameos, you know the worldwide phenomenon has taken a step up. It’s playing with the big boys now. 

And it shouldn’t end once his famous feet step outside the threshold. The gates to the estate are now wide open for Hollywood’s great, good and seriously famous to wander in. 

Sure, we all love Downton’s simple dramas, iconic British-born actors and our nation’s rising stars. But we also love superstars. Really big ones. 

Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck: come on in. The banquet table’s laid, Carson’s about to sound the dinner gong and Lady Mary is in need of a new man.  

Clooney’s move might even be the beginning of some sort of wonderful crossover between a plethora of cream-of-the-crop A-listers and our homegrown dramas. 

I don’t know about you but I could totally see Meryl Streep playing a no-nonsense Nonnatus House nun in Call the Midwife. How about Angelina Jolie playing Sherlock’s next nemesis? Or Jennifer Lawrence taking off with the Tardis in Doctor Who.

It’s surely only a matter of time. 

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Downton Abbey returns to ITV on 21st September at 9:00pm