And it’s been revealed today that his co-star Michelle Dockery – who of course plays the love of Matthew’s life Lady Mary now that poor old Lavinia has gone to the great manor house in the sky – has landed a role in another period drama for the BBC’s Shakespeare season.
More on that in a moment, but first, speaking to What’s On TV about the Christmas special – which was filmed at Highclere Castle in Berkshire – Dan said, “We finished filming a couple of weeks ago.
“Downton has a very big Christmas tree, I can tell you that much.
“I can’t tell you much else but it’s a bit Christmassy.”
However, he then joked, “I don’t wear a Santa outfit. I was a bit disappointed when I found that out…”
Well, who wouldn’t be…
Dan – who’s also starred in Sense & Sensibility, and the West End revival of Noel Coward’s The Vortex – then went on to hint that Matthew and Lady Mary may “become closer” in the festive episode.
And apropos of Lady Mary, back to Michelle Dockery’s new role, she’ll play Lady Percy in the BBC’s adaptation of Henry IV.
She’ll star alongside Jeremy Irons, Julie Walters and Maxine Peake in the lavish new production.
Michelle is of course no stranger to dramatic roles – including classical and period drama – having also starred in Waking the Dead, a Cranford Christmas special, and a BBC adaptation of The Turn of the Screw.
Also in the Shakespeare season, Alun Armstrong and his son Joe will play father and son characters, The Earl of Northumberland and Hotspur. And film versions of Richard II and Henry V will also form part of the BBC’s involvement in the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad.
Criminal Justice star Ben Whishaw will play Richard II, while Tom Hiddleston will play Henry V in the film versions.