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'Downton Abbey' new movie star Hugh Dancy admits learning the show's past was 'baffling'

Downton Abbey: A New Era
Hugh Dancy will be appearing in movie sequel 'Downton Abbey: A New Era'. (Image credit: Getty)

The Crawley family will return to the big screen when Downton Abbey: A New Era arrives in cinemas in March of 2022 and we can't wait to find out what they've been up to. 

All our favourites are due to return for the sequel to the popular 2019 movie, which was a spin-off of the hit ITV series, and the family are due to head to France for a new adventure after the Dowager Countess inherits a villa. 

Hugh Dancy is one of the new faces joining the cast, although he has revealed he didn't watch the hit period drama when it was on TV!

Hugh will be starring alongside Julie Walters in Channel 4's animated movie The Abominable Snow Baby this Christmas and when we caught up with him to discuss the film, we couldn't resist asking him about Downton Abbey

"I wasn't a big fan of the show when it was on TV," he says. "I wasn't an anti-fan or anything, it was just was one of the shows that I hadn't particularly latched on to. So I had to go back and educate myself! When you sit down and read the script of the Downton Abbey sequel without having a built-in knowledge of who the characters are, I can tell you it's a completely baffling experience!

"Fortunately there's a there's a strong community of people online who have independently made a kind of database of who all the characters are. You type in Mr Bates and you get a potted bio. That's how I came to the world of Downton Abbey, which is not a way that I would recommend!"

Yet Hugh was also keen to explain how much he loved working on the film alongside stars like Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith.

"I loved making the film and I had a great time," he explains. "Speaking as somebody who came to pretty fresh, I was really grabbed by Julian's writing. It's so strong and it moves so fast, with such confidence!" 

We know the Crawley family are off to France in the movie sequel, but could Hugh offer us any other hints about what might be happening?

"The entire Crawley family die!" he says. "JOKING! ... I'm afraid I can't tell you anything, it's more than my life's worth!"