Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville reveals his surprise at Dame Maggie Smith’s return to the screen

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‘I thought she was going to die between films’: Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville jokes Maggie Smith ‘always says she’s done’ before returning for sequel A New Era

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Hugh Bonneville has revealed that he thought Dame Maggie Smith’s character on Downton Abbey was ‘going to die between films’ while opening up about her return to the big screen.

The actor, who plays Robert Crawley in the period drama and it’s new sequel film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, appeared on Magic Radio Breakfast on Friday morning to chat about the new film release.

59-year-old Hugh also spoke about rumours that this could be Maggie’s last acting hurrah – admitting she says she’s ‘done’ every-time but always comes back.

Opening up: Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville discussed Dame Maggie Smith's return to the screen on Friday morning, admitting that he thought her character would 'die between films'

Opening up: Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville discussed Dame Maggie Smith’s return to the screen on Friday morning, admitting that he thought her character would ‘die between films’

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During the chat, Hugh explained: ‘I thought she was going to die between films frankly, but there she is, pops up again like a bad penny and being absolutely spot on as usual’

The actor also jested that the 87-year-old star has ‘all the best lines’, as he continued: ‘Every iteration of the show is the ‘that’s the last time, that’s it I’m done’ and there she is again.

‘She is on fantastic form in this and as usual has all the best lines and we don’t begrudge her those.’ 

Maggie previously announced that the sixth season of Downton Abbey, which ended up being the last season of the show all together, would be her last – but returned for the big screen sequel this year. 

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Back again: Maggie previously announced that the sixth season of Downton Abbey, which ended up being the last season of the show all together, would be her last - but returned for the big screen sequel this year (pictured in 2019)

Back again: Maggie previously announced that the sixth season of Downton Abbey, which ended up being the last season of the show all together, would be her last – but returned for the big screen sequel this year (pictured in 2019)

Promotion: Hugh, who plays Robert Crawley in the period drama and it's new sequel film, appeared on Magic Radio Breakfast on Friday morning to chat about the new release

Promotion: Hugh, who plays Robert Crawley in the period drama and it’s new sequel film, appeared on Magic Radio Breakfast on Friday morning to chat about the new release

Hugh also shared some of his strangest fan moments during the interview, admitting that one fan had received a Downton inspired tattoo – but got it wrong.

He explained: ‘There is a fan of Phyllis Logan’s character, who was so besotted with Mrs Hughes the housekeeper that she got the keys that Mrs Hughes has tattooed on her hip. 

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‘And when she met Phyllis she gaily showed her and Phyllis pointed out she had got the wrong hip.’

He was joined by co-star Elizabeth McGovern for the chat, who plays Cora Crawley, as she gushed over the new sequel film.

Co-stars: He was joined by co-star Elizabeth McGovern for the chat, who plays Cora Crawley

Co-stars: He was joined by co-star Elizabeth McGovern for the chat, who plays Cora Crawley

Dishing the dirt: The pair also chatted to presenter Harriet Scott on the film premiere and bizarre fan moments

Dishing the dirt: The pair also chatted to presenter Harriet Scott on the film premiere and bizarre fan moments

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She explained that she can sometimes feel ‘helpless’ as an actor, but was happy to see how much joy the film brought to fans.

Talking about how special the premiere was, Elizabeth explained: ‘I think it is easy, especially for an actor to feel as though what you do has no value because you feel so helpless about solving the problems of the world, probably everybody alive does.

‘But at an occasion like that I see a happy look on people’s faces and I think well this does have value it’s making people happy for a little while and there is something important about that. So I try to reassure myself. 

Downton Abbey: A New Era is out in cinemas now, as the movie shows the star studded cast head to the South of France for the long-awaited sequel. 

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Out now: Downton Abbey: A New Era is out in cinemas now, as the movie shows the star studded cast head to the south of France for the long-awaited sequel

Out now: Downton Abbey: A New Era is out in cinemas now, as the movie shows the star studded cast head to the south of France for the long-awaited sequel

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