Hugh Bonneville

Not so long ago I was lucky enough to interview the acclaimed actor, Hugh Bonneville. Three years ago he gave a talk at my school which I attended and was thoroughly inspired by; he was a witty, down-to-earth man who was a delight to listen to. Since then he has become the star of the much loved ITV drama, Downton Abbey: one of my favourite television programmes and a topic of much excited debate in many of my classes. When I found out that I had the opportunity to ask Hugh a few questions I jumped about in excitement for a bit before composing myself and writing the following questions.

What has been your favourite thing about being in Downton Abbey so far?
I love filming the scenes involving most or all of the cast. There was the arrival of the Duke in the very first episode, the announcement of War, the Armistice and many of the Christmas scenes. We spend a lot of time focused on smaller, more intimate scenes, sometimes one member of the cast might not cross paths with another for an entire episode, so it’s great to be a real ensemble from time to time.

How similar are you as a person to Lord Grantham?
We have the same eyes.

You read Theology at Cambridge; were you intending to pursue a career relating to this?
Not at all. I just found it a fascinating subject. I had an inspirational teacher at school who brought the Bible to life for me. It was a bit like studying Classics but I was concerned with the history, religion and culture of the Holy Land, rather than that of Greece or Rome.

If you could relive one moment of your life so far, excluding marriage and the birth of your son, what would it be?
The moment I opened the letter telling me I’d got into the National Youth Theatre. It was a dream come true.

Is there a particular character whom you have not yet played that you would like to?
Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Who would you have play you in a film of your life and why?
Colin Firth. Because then he’d find out what it feels like to not get the Colin Firth parts.

What made you decide to go into acting?
A passionate belief in my inability to become a good lawyer. And an equal passion for the stage.

What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
When I was about nine I asked Father Christmas for a space suit. It was the best present EVER. Until I put it on. I don’t know what synthetic material it was made from but it smelled absolutely awful and made me feel sick whenever I caught a whiff of it. In fact it’s making me gag now just thinking about it now.

Will you come back to CCHS?
Of course! Send me a helicopter and I’ll be with you by lunchtime.

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