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Hugh Bonneville then vs now: a look back at the star's impressive career

The Downton Abbey actor is a familiar face with TV and movie fans

Francesca Shillcock

Hugh Bonneville has been a recognisable face in many different TV shows and films in recent years. More recently, he's known and adored for his role as Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey – a character he is set to reprise early next year in the upcoming movie sequel.

MORE: Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville looks unrecognisable following incredible weight loss

To celebrate the exciting return of our favourite high-society family residing at Highclere Castle, we've taken a look back at Hugh Bonneville's impressive career...

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Hugh Bonneville's early work

After studying at school, Hugh went on to study theology at Cambridge and then went on to study acting at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Following his education, Hugh joined the National Youth Theatre in the late eighties and began landing roles in the theatre in productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including opposite Kenneth Branagh in Hamlet from 1992 until 1993.

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The actor in one of his first TV roles

After working in the theatre, Hugh began working in TV and film. His screen debut came in the form of a small part in an episode of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Hugh's first movie role saw him once again work alongside Kenneth Branagh in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which also starred Robert De Niro.

In the late 1990s, he starred alongside Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Richard Curtis' beloved rom-com, Notting Hill. In 2001, he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his role as John Bayley in Iris, opposite Kate Winslet.

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Hugh Bonneville in Poirot

Hugh Bonneville's recent work

Following his success on the big and small screen, Hugh continued to be land multiple roles in TV and film and soon became a household name. The actor appeared in titles such as Agatha Christi'es PoirotLove Again, in which he played famed poet Philip Larkin, The Vicar of Dibley, Lost in Austen and The Robinsons. In 2010, he first appeared as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, in period drama Downton Abbey.

Away from Downton, Hugh's other recent work includes BBC comedies, Twenty Twelve, and its subsequent spin-off W1A, The Hollow Crown and the beloved Paddington movies.

MORE: Hugh Bonneville shares never-before-seen Downton Abbey throwback photo for special reason

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Hugh will reprise his role as Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey 2 

Hugh Bonneville's time on Downton Abbey

Hugh has been a staple on Julian Fellowes' period drama since it began in 2010 and fans were thrilled when, four years after the series wrapped, a film was released. And now, a sequel is due next year.

Much like Downton's adoring fans, Hugh is clearly looking forward to the return of the franchise. The actor shared a drawing of Highclere Castle on his Instagram last month, when he announced the movie's release date.

He wrote in the caption: "Highclere Castle by @jackgreenart. The second Downton Abbey film opens in North America on 18th March 2022. Other release dates tbc." 

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