Downton Abbey film confirmed - production begins this summer
Downton Abbey will return as a film, nearly three years after the popular period drama ended its TV run, it has been confirmed.
A post from the programme's official Twitter account read: "Welcome back to Downton! We're thrilled to announce that #DowntonAbbey is coming to the big screen.
"Film production begins this summer."
The Downton Abbey film will see the original TV cast reunite, while the series' creator Julian Fellowes has written its screenplay and will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge.
The Book Thief and About A Girl's Brian Percival will direct.
Neame said: "When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.
"Julian's script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival's hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen."
Downton Abbey is being produced by Carnival Films, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing.
Focus Features' chairman Peter Kujawski said: "Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family's next chapter.
"We're thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen."
Joanne Froggatt, who played lady's maid Anna Bates, tweeted a photograph of herself alongside Downton cast members Michelle Dockery (who played Lady Mary Crawley) and Dame Maggie Smith (who played Lady Crawley), writing: "Delighted to announce we're getting the band back together! #DowntonMovie #DowntonAbbey."
Dockery shared her joy on Instagram, writing: "The secret's out... Thrilled to announce that #DowntonAbbey is coming to the big screen. Filming to commence this summer @downtonabbey_official".
Hit TV series Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th Century in an Edwardian English country home.
Over six series, it became the most nominated non-US television show in the history of the Emmys.
Phyllis Logan, who played housekeeper Mrs Hughes, told the Mail On Sunday in December that the cast had been consulted about when they are available and added: "There's a potential script coming our way, slightly rewritten."
The final episode of Downton aired on December 25, 2015 on ITV.
Belfast Telegraph Digital