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Downton Abbey star thinks Julian Fellowes should “quit while he's ahead”

Alison Potter
By Alison Potter Published on 22 January 2013

Downton Abbey star thinks Julian Fellowes should “quit while he's ahead”

Downton Abbey fans were devastated when Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens - aka Lady Sybil Crawley and Matthew Crawley - left the show.

Although all of the other stars have signed on for the upcoming fourth season of the hit costume drama, Hugh Bonneville has warned that they won't stick around if the quality of the show drops.

The 49-year-old acting veteran expressed his concerns for the future of the hit period drama, explaining that he’s currently putting all of his trust in writer and creator Julian Fellowes.

Hugh - who plays the head of the household Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham - told the Daily Mail: “I am sure the money men would like it to go on for ever and ever because it does sell extremely well around the world.

“I think the next series is nudging forward and starts six to eight months ahead from the last and I think we will start to bump into other period dramas if we are not careful time wise.

“I hope Julian quits while he is ahead but he is a wise soul.”

Traditionally, the BBC are more associated with period dramas, but the Downton Abbey star believes that the hit period drama could only have reached such a high level of global success because of ITV, who gave Julian free reign to create the show he envisioned.

Hugh explained: “It was not taken to the BBC because the creators knew, as brilliant as the costume dramas are made on the BBC, that there is a certain way it would be made. ITV grabbed it and said ‘Yes, we are with you.’

“I have been in the business for 26 years and we leave the scripts to Julian.

“They are like Christmas presents as you never know what is going to be in them.”

While the show has picked up a whole host of nominations and awards, including a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for Maggie Smith last week, so far Hugh has yet to personally win a trophy for his portrayal of Lord Crawley.

But the star doesn’t mind as he admits that he just pops to Julian’s house and plays with his mass of awards.

He joked: “I have been to his house in Dorset and each time I have grabbed the Oscar from the mantelpiece and posed for photographers, pretending it was mine.”

Perhaps Julian should check Hugh’s pockets for gold statues next time he visits...?

by Alison Potter