Popular period drama Downton Abbey is returning to the big screen, with a third film following 2022's Downton Abbey: A New Era.

The new film will once again be written by Julian Fellowes and helmed by A New Era director Simon Curtis, and while no plot details have been announced, we do have a list of the cast members who are set to return.

This includes Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech, Penelope Wilton and Dominic West.

READ MORE: New ITV drama stars Joanne Froggatt

Lesley Nicol, Michael Fox, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Harry Hadden-Paton, Sophie McShera, and Douglas Reith are all also confirmed to be back, while it has been suggested that "many other fan favourites" will appear.

Oxfordshire has strong Downton Abbey links - many scenes for the original series were filmed in the west Oxfordshire village of Bampton.

Oxford Mail: Filming in BamptonThose joining the franchise for the new film about the aristocratic Crawley family include Joely Richardson, Alessandro Nivola, Simon Russell Beale and Arty Froushan, while Paul Giamatti will be reprising his role as Cora Grantham’s brother Harold Levinson, who he played in a previous Christmas special.

The announcement of the third film was made alongside a video of the cast reuniting at a read-through.

READ MORE: TV presenter celebrates Oxford Utd win with her son

In the video, Lady Mary star Michelle Dockery says: "It feels amazing, a tad emotional.

"It's wonderful to all be back together again. We come back together and it's like no time has passed at all.

Oxford Mail: Downton Abbey fans in Bampton"We're so happy to announce that we're in production for the third Downton Abbey movie. We can't wait to see you."

And Hugh Bonneville posted on X, formerly Twitter: "Delighted to have started work on the third #DowntonAbbey film."

It is also rumoured though not confirmed that filming has started for a 'secret' seventh series of Downton Abbey.

It's possible the seventh series could be on ITV by the end of the year, according to the Daily Mail.

Bampton was besieged with fans after it first appeared on screen as Downton in 2010 and became something of a cultural phenomenon.

Although the problem has diminished, one resident told the Oxford Mail last year that fans stuck selfie sticks up to his bedroom windows and he felt like he was 'living in a zoo'.

READ MORE: Rare copy of The Hobbit could fetch 10k

The owner of the manor house where Mrs Crawley lived described it as a "very mixed blessing".

Oxford Mail: Downton fans in BamptonHowever, the show brought substantial tourism to the village with a dedicated local group of volunteers manning the shop, guiding visitors and managing the traffic.

The upper room of the Old Grammar School, founded during the rule of Oliver Cromwell was restored for the first time since 1960. 

It is now in near constant use hosting talks and workshops, creative writing courses and craft therapies. 

It was paid for with a £70,000 fundraising drive, encouraged by the actor Hugh Bonneville who made a video about it. 

And some local fans welcomed it.

One 37-year-old mum said: "The businesses here, the new coffee shop and restaurant, will need more than just local trade to keep them alive."

Oxford Mail: Downton Abbey at Cogges

Another added: "Some of them ask where the big house is and are disappointed when they are told it is Highclere Castle which is miles away from here."

Good relations with coach companies helped with traffic issues after they were told not to block up the streets. 

Cogges Manor Farm in Witney also benefited from the ITV series and runs tours and exhibitions.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.