George Clooney swaps directing for Downton Abbey in first look picture of show's charity special

It's the picture George Clooney fans have been waiting for - the Hollywood heart-throb posing with Hugh Bonneville for the upcoming Downton Abbey charity special.  Plot details for the episode remain shrouded in secrecy but we do know that Hugh, who plays Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, asked his pal George to star in the show, after the pair worked together on The Monuments Men.

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George Clooney and Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey

In this promotional picture, George and Hugh pose for one serious and one jokey picture, as they hold the clapboard for Downton Abbey with the details for the charity fundraiser, Text Santa.


It is thought that George filmed his scenes with Hugh and Michelle Dockery at Highclere Castle earlier this year before his lavish wedding with to Amal Clooney, which featured exclusively in HELLO! Magazine.

It was thought that George was at Highclere to consider it as a possible wedding venue, but it later emerged that he was there for Downton Abbey.

"All the plans have been shrouded in secrecy because George was determined for his role not to leak out," a source told The Sun newspaper.

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George Clooney is reportedly a big fan of the awad-winning Downton Abbey

The source added: "All the other cast members and crew were sworn to secrecy. It's amazing it's taken four months for someone to find out. This is the biggest moment in Downton history and shows it's now the biggest drama in the world."

Tom Cullen, who plays Lord Gillingham, did, however, leak one secret from the set - that George had planted a kiss on Dame Maggie Smith, the show's matriarch.

"I know he gave Maggie a kiss and she collapsed onto the sofa..." he told Lorraine Kelly.

"He’s a very handsome man, isn’t he?" he added.

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