Imelda Staunton and Dame Emma Thompson among stars serving diners at The Ivy

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Some of Britain’s biggest stars of stage and screen swapped their red carpet attire for aprons to serve guests for a charity event at The Ivy.

Downton Abbey star Imelda Staunton became Maitre d’ alongside co-star Jim Carter and fellow screen stars Dame Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, while Laura Carmichael, Michael C Fox, Jemma Redgrave and Hannah Waddingham acted as waiters.

Laura Carmichael, Imelda Staunton, Dame Penelope Wilton and Jim Carter at One Night Only at The Ivy (Dave Benett)

Meanwhile, David Mitchell, Sheila Hancock and Tracie Bennett welcomed guests as hosts, while Phyllis Logan, Harriet Thorpe, Ginny Holder and Jodie Prenger served up drinks behind the bar for the One Night Only event in aid of theatrical charity Acting For Others.

Husband and wife team Dame Emma Thompson and Greg Wise had time for a laugh (Dave Benett)

The proceedings all happened under the watchful eye of Dame Penelope Wilton, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, who took up residence at the Knights and Dames table.

Anne Reid, Sir Derek Jacobi, Imelda Staunton, Dame Penelope Wilton and Sir Ian McKellen (Dave Benett)

Staunton could be seen brandishing menus as she greeted guests while actress Caroline Quentin poured wine for diners.

Acting For Others is made up of 14 individual theatrical charities which offer financial and emotional assistance and support to those in the entertainment profession who have fallen on hard times.

It helps the ill, injured or elderly who can no longer work and now find themselves in need, as well as those caring for a child with special needs.