The ‘Downton Abbey’ Cast Member Who Gets ‘Emotional’ When Reading Fan Letters

Downton Abbey, the popular British TV series may have ended, but for many fans, the stories still resonate. One of the cast of Downton Abbey recently admitted he gets emotional when reading fan letters. Who is it?

The ‘Downton Abbey’ characters’ whose marriage carries the show

Downton Abbey cast members
Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery on the set of the Downton Abbey movie | Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features

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As Downton Abbey‘s creator, Julian Fellowes, explained to WLIW in an interview, “the spine of the series is love.” The TV writer expanded:

All of the characters are given an opportunity to feel love, to turn love down, to love the wrong person, to make a mess of it, to make a good thing of it. I think on the whole love is a very key ingredient to all our lives, even if we haven’t got any.

Among all the love going around throughout the show, WLIW cites the relationship between The Earl and Lady of Grantham — as portrayed by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern — as the “central marriage” in Downton Abbey.

“Despite challenges and obstacles, their union is based on a deep understanding and affection for one another, which grows over the course of six seasons,” the publication argued. Fellowes chimed in on one of Downton Abbey’s most important romances:

I like the idea that Robert had married Cora for her millions in order to save Downton and keep the show on the road, and subsequently fell in love with her. It puts a slight guilt almost into the relationship on his part.

Cast member Hugh Bonneville tears up while recalling fan letters

In 2019, Bonneville — AKA Robert Crawley — sat down to speak about Downton Abbey with SAGA. The actor apparently became “emotional” — specifically when talking about letters from the show’s fans, many who write that “Downton has helped them through difficult times.”

The show is escapism at its finest. The romance, drama, betrayal, not to mention the aesthetic touches — the costumes, the setting, and the music — make Downton Abbey compelling and binge-able TV. But many fans also had good memories watching the show with their loved ones.

“I had more than one letter saying ‘Downton reminds me of when my gran died. We watched the whole series as she was passing because it’s the one thing she wanted to do,'” Bonneville told SAGA.

For him — and perhaps other cast members — through letters like these, Downton Abbey becomes more than just historical fiction.

Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville in the Downton Abbey movie
Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville in the Downton Abbey movie | Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features

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“Yes, it is a fantasy,” Bonneville said, “but it’s not so far out of reach in terms of memory. It’s my grandparents’ generation.”

The actor believes the devil, in this case, was in the details. Perhaps that’s one reason why fans of several generations found the show so fascinating, anyway.

“… you’ve got nice little touches each series,” Bonneville said, “like the invention of the electric whisk or the hairdryer.”