Downton Abbey will feature a Christmas special in 2015, it has been confirmed. Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley in the popular drama series, confirmed the news at the TRIC Awards in London.
Speaking to press, Hugh was asked whether the cast would be starring in a festive special. "We will," he replied. "We'll do a ninth episode which will come out at Christmas."
The actor also gave details about what fans can expect to see in the upcoming sixth series, which is currently being filmed and is expected to be released in autumn.
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, confirmed the Downton Abbey Christmas special
"We're in 1925, so the series has nudged on another six months, and Lady Rose has been on her honeymoon and she's now moved to America," said Hugh. "Tom Branston has gone to Boston, and some faces that we met towards the end of the fifth season may or may not be coming over the horizon to break or make the hearts of Lady Mary and Lady Edith and people like that."
Hugh was also quizzed on whether former guest stars Shirley MacLaine, who played Countess Cora's mum Martha, and Paul Giamatti, who took on the role of Cora's brother, would be reprising their characters.
"I don't know," said Hugh. "I haven't heard that one, but we'd all be delighted because we love having them. The guest artists we've had have been amazing and to have any of them back would be brilliant."
The sixth series of Downton Abbey is currently being filmed
Last November it was confirmed that Downton, created by Julian Fellowes and produced by Carnival Films, would be returning for a sixth series. Reports that surfaced in January of this year, however, shocked fans, claiming that the next season would be the last.
Julian is set to start work on a new US period drama The Gilded Age and it's thought he won't have time for two such big projects, while a number of the Downton cast members are reportedly looking to take on Hollywood.
"Some of the actors are keen to let it be known they will be available for work after the summer," a source told The Mirror. "Some are interested in the US, where Downton is as popular as it is in the UK. Joanne Froggatt, Edith Carmichael and Allen Leech were in Los Angeles and there were meetings about both TV and film roles."