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Downton Abbey cast then vs now: see how the stars have changed over the years

The stars of the ITV period drama have certainly changed over the years!

downton then and now
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
3 June 2020
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hugh bonneville© Photo: Getty Images

Downton Abbey will never get old. We're loving re-visiting the box set while waiting for the highly anticipated film sequel! The cast of the popular show, written and created by Julian Fellowes, has seen many famous faces in its cast over the years. But how did they look before? Click through the gallery to see the stars of the show at the beginning of the career compared to now…

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville's role as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, is perhaps one of his most notable roles. However, the actor was also known for work prior to the show in films like Notting Hill. Here's a fresh-faced Hugh back in the day.

MORE: Everything we know so far about the Downton Abbey film sequel

michelle dockery© Photo: Getty Images

Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery made her TV debut back in 2005, five years before she joined the cast of Downton, in BBC mini-series Fingersmith. She also appeared in a number of other TV shows before joining the period drama to play Lady Mary Crawley.

MORE: Downton Abbey: 6 stars who left the show and why

elizabeth mcgovern© Photo: Getty Images

Elizabeth McGovern

American actress Elizabeth enjoyed success in films prior to joining Downton, and starred in the 1984 epic Once Upon a Time in America alongside Robert De Niro and James Woods. Here's Elizabeth in her early acting career. Michelle's pictured here at the 1985 Oscars.

Keep clicking for more photos..!

maggie smith© Photo: Getty Images

Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith has had success in film and acting for over 50 years. She has appeared in theatre productions, TV shows and many Hollywood films since the start of her career. Having began her career in the 50s, Maggie Smith may have changed over the years but we think she looks just as fab!

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Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens began his career on the stage before joining Downton. The actor then went on to star in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Here's a youthful looking Dan at the start of his career.

laura carmichael© Photo: Getty Images

Laura Carmichael

Playing Lady Edit Crawley in Downton was Laura Carmichael's first major TV role, but she did also have a number of small parts in independent films and also enjoyed a career on the stage. Laura is pictured here back in 2010, the year Downton first appeared on our screens.

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Joanne Froggatt

Prior to her role as Anna Bates in Downton, Joanne Froggatt had been in a number of TV shows over the years such as The Bill, Coronation Street and Bad Girls. Here's Joanne in her Corrie days, and today she looks even more glam!

jessica brown findlay© Photo: Getty Images

Jessica Brown Findlay

Although Jessica Brown Findlay only stayed on Downton as Lady Sybil Crawley for three series, she certainly made an impact in what was her first major TV role. Jessica is pictured here in 2010 soon after rising to fame from her part in the ITV drama.

jimcarter© Photo: Getty Images

Jim Carter

Like a few of his Downton co-stars, Jim Carter enjoyed a successful career in acting prior to joining the period drama to play Jim Carson. His film credits include: A Private Function (with his future co-star Maggie Smith), Richard III (alongside Ian McKellen) and Shakespeare in Love.

lily james© Photo: Getty Images

Lily James

Lily James' first TV role was in the BBC series Just William back in 2010, two years before she joined Downton Abbey as Lady Rose MacClare. Here's Lily looking fresh-faced at the start of her professional career.

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