Good news for fans of reassuringly British period dramas everywhere: production is seemingly set to begin on the long-rumoured Downton Abbey film in September, according to a new report.
A source told The Sun that Downton creator Julian Fellowes has reunited with the show's long-time producers Carnival Films, who have set a date to begin filming.
'Film bosses have requested the services of crew members and accountants to work on the picture,' the source said. 'A budget has been set and now it's a case of getting everything in place to start shooting. It would take something big to stop the project from happening now.'
Earlier in the year, one of the show's stars confirmed that the script was complete, and it had been sent out to members of the cast of ITV's much-loved show.
Speaking on Lorraine, actor Jeremy Swift (who played the Dowager Countess’ hapless butler, Spratt) revealed that a copy of Julian Fellowes’ new script had recently landed in his inbox.
‘There is a film script, which we’ve all been sent, but it disappeared in a Mission Impossible style from our emails, with a little puff,’ he joked.
‘It’s supposed to be happening, filming, this year but it hasn’t been locked down yet,’ he added.
After six highly successful seasons, Downton Abbey bowed out on Christmas Day in 2015 with a feature-length special episode, though creator Julian Fellowes has since repeatedly expressed his desire to revisit the characters.
The cast of Downton Abbey attend the SAG Awards
Swift cited ‘logistics’ as the main obstacle for the project, as to the cast’s busy post-Downton schedules make it difficult to confirm dates for filming. ‘It’s just getting everybody in that same space and time. I think there is a huge appetite for it,’ he said.
His comments echo those made by Jim Carter (aka Carson, the butler, aka the best Downton character) earlier this year, when he cryptically revealed that the cast '[have] been asked to keep ourselves available at dates in the future.'