17/01/2017 15:57 GMT

'Downton Abbey' Film Announcement Is 'Imminent', According To Production Source

The cast have been told to 'make themselves available'.

We are receiving more and more signposts that the residents of ‘Downton Abbey’ will soon be making their big screen debut.

We heard recently that members of the cast had been told to “keep themselves available” for dates yet to be announced - this titbit came from a loose-tongued Jim Carter, who plays stalwart butler Mr Carson.

Now Radio Times reports that an announcement about a film version of the hit series will be “imminent” - with the cast set to include Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael. Hugh Bonneville is also due to return as the Earl, although his rider is reported to include his name in the credits being moved away from the rear end of Isis the Labrador.

Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael are all set to return for the big screen version

Talk of a film started almost with the final credits on the series, which finished after a triumphant six-series run in 2015. Although most loose ends were tied satisfactorily, with wedding bells for Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes, Lady Edith and Bertie, and Lady Mary and Henry Talbot, there is still scope for further storylines, including any of these heading off and starting a new life.

Or Mr Barrow could plot once again to take over the Abbey.

The series creator, Lord Julian Fellowes, is also reported to be on board, and financing would surely not be an issue for a franchise that spawned six hit series, and a clutch of awards on both sides of the Atlantic. Plus Lord Fellowes is no novice at creating a life upstairs and downstairs for the big screen - he previously penned ‘Gosford Park’ for which he won an Oscar. 

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