Hugh Bonneville to star in ‘Sherlock’ writer’s new drama ‘Douglas is Cancelled’

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has revealed his next television project!

The 60-year-old English actor is best known for his role as Robert Crawley in ITV’s hit period drama series and its spin-off movies.

Bonneville recently wrapped filming on the third Paddington movie, and next up he’ll be leading the cast of Douglas is Cancelled.

ITV’s new comedy-drama about cancel culture has been written by Sherlock creator Steven Moffat.

The four-part series stars Bonneville as a middle aged and widely-respected news anchor called Douglas Bellowes, Variety reports.

“Douglas lives a perfect life,” the official synopsis tells us. “He enjoys his privileged status as national treasure and host of current affairs show Live at Six while off-air he shares a harmonious home with wife Sheila, a newspaper editor.

“But their world is turned upside down when, at a family wedding, he’s overheard making an “ill-advised joke.” As a guest threatens to expose Douglas on social media the rumor mill goes into overdrive and sparks off a digital storm that quickly upends his life and career.

“With her 2 million social media followers, tech-savvy co-anchor Madeline could throw Douglas a lifeline by posting in his defense … but will she?”

Playing Douglas’s canny sidekick Madeline is Karen Gillan.

The Scottish actress previously worked with Douglas is Cancelled writer Steven Moffat when he was showrunner of Doctor Who, in which she played the time-travelling Amy Pond from 2010-2013.

“To torment a man, let alone a man named Douglas, for four episodes — armed with the writing of Steven Moffat — is a great privilege that I’m going to enjoy every minute of,” commented Gillan.

Douglas is Cancelled began filming in London this week, directed by Ben Palmer (Breeders, The Inbetweeners).

“Working again with a director like Ben, on Steven’s acidly witty script, with an ensemble of this calibre, is as daunting as it is exciting,” said Hugh Bonneville.

We’ve got a sneak at Bonneville and Gillan in character on set here:

Karen Gillan isn’t the only Doctor Who alumni in the cast, with E.R. actress Alex Kingston also set to appear alongside her former on-screen daughter.

They’ll be joined by Ben Miles from The Crown and The Trial of Christine Keeler.

Miles previously worked with writer Steven Moffat when he starred in BBC sitcom Coupling in the early 2000s.

Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso) and Simon Russell Beale (House of the Dragon, Penny Dreadful) have been announced too.

“It’s the kind of cast that makes you terrified about stepping into the room,” joked Moffat.

“I just sat down and wrote this,” he explained. “Didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing. And now it’s all happening… I can’t quite believe we’ve managed to get the mighty Hugh Bonneville involved as Douglas and that we’ve lured my old friend Karen Gillan back from Hollywood to play Madeline.”

Douglas is Cancelled will premiere on ITVX in the UK in 2024.

Moffat’s most recent TV project was Inside Man for the BBC and Netflix last year, which (much like his Dracula mini-series and the later years of Sherlock) had descended into unwatchable nonsense by its conclusion.

Meanwhile, his adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife was cancelled by HBO after just one season.

Hopefully Douglas is Cancelled will be an improvement on those series!

The complete Sherlock box set is available on DVD on Amazon.