A RECORD number of Downton Abbey fans flocked to a West Oxfordshire village last year to see the quiet country lanes where the popular TV series was filmed.

And Bampton could be set for even more visitors after one of Downton's cast revealed a big screen version of the ITV hit could be filmed this year.

Jeremy Swift, who played butler Septimus Spratt, told ITV's Lorraine show that the cast had been sent a script but the schedule for filming had not yet been 'locked down'.

The period TV drama, which was a hit around the globe and starred top actors including Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith, ended in 2015 after six series.

Throughout its run numerous scenes were shot in Bampton and Bampton Community Archive chairman Robin Shuckburgh said the village was continuing to benefit from the 'Downton effect'.

The archive and the village shop is based at the Grade II listed Old Grammar School, which dates back to the 17th century and doubled up as a film location for cottage hospital scenes.

Mr Shuckburgh said: "I'm sure the vast majority of residents in Bampton would love to see a Downton movie and it sounds like an announcement could be imminent.

"The series over the years has had a very positive effect on Bampton and last year more than 30,000 fans came to visit the Old Grammar School, where we sell souvenirs and our own Downton memorabilia.

"So far these visitors have raised more than £100,000 towards the £250,000 cost of restoring the building, after we started fundraising about two years ago.

"The total number of visitors was about 10,000 more than the previous two years.

"Coachloads of people regularly turn up and our coach bookings for 2017 are up on last year.

"The scaffolding is up at the moment for restoration of the slate roof and the work would not have been possible without money brought in by fans of the series."

A Downton Mile appeal, which aimed to collect the same number of £1 coins needed to cover a one-mile tour of Downton attractions in the village – the equivalent of about £70,000 – was backed by stars Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael and Samantha Bond.

West Oxfordshire District Council also gave a grant £20,000 towards repairs.

Mr Shuckburgh said: "The Downton Mile made tens of thousands of pounds towards the cost of renovating the Old Grammar School and a number of donors also gave us generous sums."

The building was given to the community by a wealthy benefactor to serve as the first village school almost 400 years ago and is owned by the Bampton Exhibition Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to improving education in the community.

Kate Humphreys, a spokeswoman for Carnival Films, said: "Carnival Films has already confirmed that a script for a potential Downton Abbey movie is in development.

"However, there are still no firm plans about when a film might go into production.

"When the future plans are certain we will of course make an announcement at the relevant time."