‘Downton Abbey’ sequel has officially started filming!

Production is underway on the second Downton Abbey movie.

The unexpected – but very welcome – news was confirmed yesterday by Universal Pictures.

Based on ITV’s hit period drama series, the first Downton Abbey film was released in 2019, topping the box office in the UK and the US.

Mr Carson actor Jim Carter revealed last autumn that the script had been finished, but it was thought that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would cause the planned 2021 shoot to be delayed.

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, previously commented in February: “….until [the pandemic] is under control in a sensible way, we are not going to be able to get all those ducks in a row.”

Nevertheless, Downton Abbey 2 (as it’s called for now) began filming in England last week.

We wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a more interesting title by the time it arrives in cinemas, however – Downton Revisited, perhaps?

Discussing the anticipation for a Downton sequel, Bonneville said: “I think it’s the sort of pleasurable release of a movie like the first one was, that audiences would enjoy after all of this mess we have been through.”

Plot details for the second film are being kept a closely guarded secret, but we do know that the producers were considering setting part of the story in America, while the fate of the Dowager Countess might not be as final as it appeared at the end of the first movie.

Organising the cast’s schedules must have been quite a feat, with Matthew Goode filming 1920s drama The Colour Room, Michelle Dockery leading Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal, Lily James playing Pamela Anderson in a new Hulu series, and Joanne Froggatt starring in new ITV thriller Angela Black.

Meanwhile, Hugh Bonneville is set to return for a third Paddington movie, and Maggie Smith will appear in a heart-warming new Christmas film later this year.

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection box set is available on DVD on Amazon.