This ‘Downton Abbey’ star was the last to sign up for the movie

One major Downton Abbey character nearly didn’t return in the upcoming movie.

Based on ITV’s hit period drama series, the film finally arrives in cinemas next month.

The much-anticipated movie will see almost the entire cast reunited, apart from Lily James as Lady Rose, while one former star was cut and another wasn’t invited back.

However, it’s now emerged that Dame Maggie Smith took quite a bit of persuading to reprise her role as Lady Violet Crawley.

Downton Abbey executive producer Gareth Neame has admitted to Deadline that the 84-year-old Harry Potter star was the last cast member to sign up for the movie.

As for how they talked her into returning, he explained: “I suspect in a lot of ways, Maggie missed working with the other actors.”

He revealed: “When she was completely sure everyone was going to do it and it was happening, then she was on board.”

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, added: “The biggest testament to the film is that everyone turned up to play. We had some hurdles getting everyone in the same place at the same time, but there was a will to do it.”

The Downton Abbey movie will be released in the UK on Friday 13th September and in the USA on Friday 20th September.

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