Exclusive: Anita Rani reveals Dominic West 'waited ages' for Downton Abbey role

The TV presenter will host the Downton Abbey podcast

Anita Rani may usually be seen climbing a mountain, soaking up the great outdoors and being at one with nature, but the Countryfile presenter also has a passion for a very different location - the set of period drama Downton Abbey.

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"I'd say yes to a cameo role in a heartbeat," she told HELLO!, celebrating her dream presenting gig as co-host of Downton Abbey: The Official Podcast. "I've definitely dropped massive hints."

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The podcasts see 44-year-old Anita interviewing cast members including Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Hugh Bonneville (the Earl of Grantham) and Elizabeth McGovern (the Countess), as well as going behind the scenes of new film Downton Abbey: A New Era.

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"I was starstruck by all of them. I think Elizabeth is quite possibly one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen," she said. "I mean, she’s stunning on screen, but she’s just something else. Absolutely breath-taking."

The presenter first came across the beloved period drama during lockdown, and now she has become a rich source of Grantham gossip ahead of the new film, teasing us with: "Hollywood comes to town – yes, Hollywood comes to use Downton as a film set. That is all I can tell you."

Dominic West will play an actor who is at Downton to shoot his new movie

The film sees Dominic West join the cast on location at Highclere Castle. "I can tell you he's been waiting for the call to be in Downton. He is very happy," she divulged.

Fans will also see Our House actress Tuppence Middleton, whose character Lucy Smith marries Allen Leech's Tom Branson. Allen is "brilliant", Anita says.

"We talked about the trajectory of his character – going from below-stairs to above – and the reality of whether that would actually happen. But it's Downton! Anything can happen in Downton – and we love a good wedding."

The Downton Abbey podcast will be released on 15 March

Downton Abbey: The Official Podcast is available from 15 March on all popular podcast platforms. Downton Abbey: A New Era will be in cinemas from 29 April.

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