Hugh Bonneville says Downton Abbey is “just another show”

by Lynn Connolly

It would seem that actor Hugh Bonneville is somewhat under-whelmed by the success of hit drama Downton Abbey, in which he plays Robert, Earl of Grantham.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Hugh said of the show, “There’s a sense of ownership over it which is delightful, really lovely.

“It’s clearly got some infectious quality about it which I can’t analyse.

“I don’t want to sound derogatory, but to me it’s just another show. I’m just doing my job.

“But it clearly has some ingredient X which has captivated people and taken us all by surprise.”

He went on to reveal that even his nine-year old nephew is an avid viewer of the period drama.

He said, “I didn’t think he’d be remotely interested, but he is.”

Hugh added, “The point at which I realised Downton was becoming more popular than one could have anticipated, came when I was standing in the school playground.

“Some guy came up to me and said: ‘I don’t like what that Thomas is doing’ – he was 11.”

In the forthcoming second series, Hugh’s character Robert is back at Downton recovering from being injured. The grand family home has been turned into a convalescent home for soldiers.

Of the plotline, Hugh said, “Having fought in the Boer War Robert is excited at the prospect of rejoining his regiment – then things happen and his expectations are thwarted.

“He gradually feels more and more impotent because he can’t be in the forefront of where he wants to be.

“We project forward into the 20s with women getting the vote and their roles growing in society.

“It’s a long, slow process that many would say we haven’t even achieved now.

“I think that’s one of the most significant and dynamic things about the second series.”

“But in our fictional world of Downton, there is something about that world that seems to be ordered and functional.

“And all the cogs seem to work, like it or not.”


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.