Saturday 20 January 2018

Downton gala backs Special Olympics

Hugh Bonneville said he hoped the show could shine a spotlight on the Special Olympics
Hugh Bonneville said he hoped the show could shine a spotlight on the Special Olympics
The cast of Downton Abbey attending the Gala Dinner at the Landmark Hotel, London
Sophie McShera and Joanne Froggatt attending the Downton Abbey Gala Dinner

The cast of ITV's hit period drama Downton Abbey have held a fundraising event in support of Great Britain's Special Olympics team.

Actors Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt and the show's creator Julian Fellowes were among those who attended the gala dinner at the Landmark hotel in central London.

The money raised will help children and adults with intellectual disabilities get involved in sport.

Bonneville, 51, said: "It's a great honour for us at Downton Abbey ... to celebrate something that is a wonderful initiative, the Special Olympics, and inspiring people who might not otherwise get the chance to take part in sport and to learn all sorts of different skills quite apart from just being sporting heroes, to learn about team work and to learn about the discipline of sport and everything like that.

"It's a great thing to support so we're very proud to be here and be part of it."

The Special Olympics World Summer Games begins in Los Angeles next month.

Bonneville said: " I wasn't aware of the Special Olympics so it's wonderful I think that a show like ours can hopefully shine a bit of a spotlight on this initiative.

"It's a terrific thing to be able to take over 100 athletes to LA to that fantastic stadium, not only is it going to be amazing for them, for their families and their coaches, it's also going to spread the word back here in Britain about the value of this sort of sporting initiative."

He refused to reveal what Downton Abbey fans can expect from the final series of the show, which will be broadcast later this year.

"Obviously I can't tell you much about it, but I've just read the final episode. It's full of tears and laughter, but then so is every episode," he said.

Bonneville will start filming on drama Viceroy's House in India later this year.

"Is there such a thing as life after Downton? Who knows, we'll have to wait and see," he mused.

"I've got a film coming up in September, I'm going to be doing a film out in India with Gillian Anderson and then in the New Year, who knows, down the dole office looking for a job."

Press Association

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