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Hugh Bonneville says he thought Maggie Smith’s character ‘was going to die’ before Downton Abbey 2

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Hugh Bonneville has said he thought Maggie Smith‘s character “was going to die” before Downton Abbey 2.

The actor is set to return as Robert Crawley in the former TV show’s film sequel, titled Downton Abbey: A New Era, alongside Smith, who is 87.

Speaking about Smith’s return as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, whom she also played in the ITV series, Bonneville told Magic Radio Breakfast: “I thought she was going to die between films frankly, but there she is.”

He continued: “[She] pops up again like a bad penny and being absolutely spot on as usual.”

Speaking about rumours that this could be Smith’s last time playing the character, Bonneville said: “Every iteration of the show, [she says], ‘That’s the last time, that’s it I’m done’ and there she is again.”

He added that “she is on fantastic form in this and, as usual, has all the best lines – and we don’t begrudge her those”.

Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith in ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ (BEN BLACKALL/FOCUS FEATURES)
Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith in ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ (BEN BLACKALL/FOCUS FEATURES)

The first Downton Abbey film, released in 2018, grossed $194m (£154.8m) worldwide from a budget of approiximately $20m (£16m)

Downton Abbey: A New Era is out now. Read The Independent’s review of the sequel here.

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