Downton’s Bonneville: ‘I like Robert Crawley’

Hugh Bonneville says he’s not sure he has a lot in common with his Downton Abbey character – but he does likes him.

The star, who plays Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, in the hit TV drama, says: “I don’t think I’d have a huge amount in common with Robert if I met him at a dinner party.

“But I like the guy. I like the fact that while he does bluster and he’s pompous sometimes, and he makes mistakes, there’s a decency and a love for his family underneath it all.”

The actor said of the role: “There are people who think I’ve been doing nothing for 25 years, and then suddenly I get this role on Downton Abbey.

“But I’ve had a really lovely time for 25 years! I’ve played everything from Shakespeare to sitcoms to period dramas to modern serial killers. I consider myself a character actor, and I do love playing different instruments in the orchestra when I get the chance.”

He said: “Underneath it all, this series is about romance rather than sex, it’s about tension rather than violence, and it’s about family – both the literal family and the staff as family.”

Explaining why he thought the ITV drama had been so successful, he added: “These days we have relationships that are forged, consummated and brought to an end within 24 hours. Back then, the pace of life was slower, and I think we like to breathe out and enjoy that world.”

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