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Sunday 17 December 2017

Downton stars grace the red carpet as show creator sees 'no end' to series

Downton Abbey's stars brought old-school glamour to London's Leicester Square last night for the premiere of series five.

The hit period drama held a red carpet event hosted by the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, with star guests Jim Carter and Laura Carmichael arriving in style in a vintage car.

Carter, who plays butler Carson, said: "We were a bit nervous about getting out of it because it was a slightly inelegant backside first exit from the car and Laura was nervous about her short skirt. But it was nice to crawl around the streets in a Bugatti."

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Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, said her character's storyline involving a secret love child with missing lover Michael Gregson had made for a different experience this series.

"I've loved this series. You're all wanting exciting things to happen to your characters and it's been wonderful to play," she said.

The show's creator Julian Fellowes and producer Gareth Neame promised fans an end to Downton was not in sight yet.

"I think the thing that limits it is the characters start to get older than the actors because we rattle through history, so we couldn't go up as far as World War II," Neame said.

Fellowes added "You always have to remember period drama is history light - you can enjoy it."

George Clooney recently visited the set to record an appeal for an ITV festive fundraising show and Fellowes said: "I thought he was very generous to do it because he didn't have that long in England and he spent a whole day of it supporting the ITV group of charities, so that seems to indicate that his heart is in the right place."

Asked whether Clooney would be welcome back for an acting role, he said: "As far as I'm concerned, he can have whatever he likes. He can take over from Maggie (Smith) if he likes."

The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund supports people working behind the scenes in film, cinema and television who are facing hardship.

Series five returns to ITV on Sunday.

hnews@herald.ie

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