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Downton Abbey returning for 'final' movie, Staunton says

Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter
Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter both starred in Downton Abbey

Actress Imelda Staunton has said a third and "final" Downton Abbey movie is in the pipeline.

Staunton played Queen Mary's lady-in-waiting Lady Maud Bagshaw in the first two films, while husband Jim Carter played butler Mr Carson in the TV series and movies.

Asked by BBC Radio 2 breakfast show host Zoe Ball about reports that more Downton Abbey is coming, Staunton said: "There will be the final film - there you go."

"Wow, that’s pretty huge. I hope we haven’t got you in trouble," Ball jokingly replied, to which Staunton answered: "I don't care."

Downton Abbey ran on ITV from 2010 to 2015, with two films following in 2019 and 2022, making £225m at global box offices.

According to the Sun, the new project is due to start filming this summer and is expected to pick up where the sequel left off, in the late-1920s.

Imelda Staunton on Zoe Ball's Radio 2 show
Staunton appeared on Ball's radio show on Wednesday

The newspaper also reported that Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti is to return to the cast for the final movie.

Giamatti appeared as Harold Levinson in the TV show's 2013 Christmas special.

Speaking before the second film's release in 2022, writer Julian Fellowes said Downton Abbey had "become a sort of club" for the cast.

"They say goodbye, everyone cries, and two years later we’re back at it," he told the Radio Times.

“I think each time it’s goodbye, but whether it is or not, who knows?”

Production company Universal International Studios did not respond to a request from BBC News for a comment on Staunton's remarks.

Meanwhile, the actress also confirmed the return of her character Aunt Lucy to Paddington.

The next film, Paddington in Peru, is due out later this year.

Staunton will also star in a revival of the musical Hello, Dolly! in London's West End this summer.