Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville: “These characters did become a part of peoples’ lives.”



Hugh Bonneville - Downton Abbey

For six seasons of “Downton Abbey,” actor Hugh Bonneville nobly portrayed the regal family patriarch, Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. With the series now behind him, Bonneville is currently playing Doctor Stockmann in Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” at the Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex.

Even though Bonneville has since moved forward from “Downton Abbey,” he is not shy to speak about the everlasting appeal of the series.

“It’s extraordinary the impact it had,” said Bonneville during an interview with ITV News. “I’m using the past-tense now – because it’s gone – but it was a wonderful thing to be a part of and I really think these characters did become a part of peoples’ lives. They were very real to people, which is enchanting and lovely. But, it was the right time to end.”

Of course, having such a role as Robert Crawley means that Bonneville is presumably more recognizable in public than ever before. That said, he appears to be comfortable with that type of spotlight.

Downton Abbey S5E6: Sybbie Branson (FIFI HART), Lord Grantham, Robert Crawley (HUGH BONNEVILLE)

Explained Bonneville: “It’s a strange thing, but at least people aren’t coming across the street to punch [me], they’re coming across the road to say, ‘I really like the show.’ Rob James-Collier, who played Thomas Barrow, he famously said: ‘In America, people will come across the street to tell you how much they love the show. In Britain, they cross the street to tell you they don’t watch it.’” {Laughs}

Regardless of why someone is running across the street to summon a “Downton Abbey” actor, what is clear is the desire many fans have for a movie incarnation of the hit British period drama. What has further stoked the flames of interest is Series Creator Julian Fellowes and Executive Producer Gareth Neame expressing interest in making such a project happen.

“I don’t see why not,” relayed Bonneville when asked if he thinks a ‘Downton Abbey’ film could happen. “There’s certainly talk of it. The main problem is going to be getting us all together – it’s like herding cats. But, there is a great affection between [the cast] and for the creative team. So I think where there’s a will, there’s a way. I would love it and I know many others would as well.”

Tune in Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/7pm PT, as VisionTV continues its encore presentation of season five of “Downton Abbey.” On Wednesday, June 29, we will premiere the sixth season of “Downton Abbey” at 9pm ET/6pm PT. 

-Adam Grant

Here is a look at Hugh Bonneville’s time on “Downton Abbey”:

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