Hugh Bonneville: When we finish Downton Abbey there’ll be tears

Highclere's leading man laughs off rumours of a Downton feature film, and says BBC comedy W1A is closer to reality than you think

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Unlike his co-star Penelope Wilton, Hugh Bonneville will be reaching for his embroidered handkerchief when Downton Abbey comes to an end later this year.

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“Series five was supposed to be the last so this one is a bonus and it feels right for the story,” the actor best known for playing Lord Grantham in the ITV period drama says in this week’s issue of Radio Times. “Of course it’s sad. We’re filming the final episodes now. When we finish there’ll be tears.”

However, Bonneville pooh-poohs rumours of a Downton feature film or a TV spin-off set in the 1970s.

“Great idea,” he jokes. “I think we should combine those two thoughts. Let’s make a film set in the 1970s in which Lord Grantham wears flares and a kipper tie. I can see it now.”

While viewers will have to wait until the autumn for the final series of Downton, Bonneville will next appear on our screens as BBC bureaucrat Ian Fletcher in the second series of the mockumentary W1A, which sends up the Corporation’s managerial structure.

There’s plenty of truth in it according to Bonneville: “Viewers think we make this stuff up,” he says. “They can’t believe senior members of the BBC would sit around and discuss serious issues in places called ‘think-pods’ or that there really is a Frankie Howerd Room.”

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Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, in shops and from Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 14 April

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