Production is under way for a third movie spawned from the TV series created by a Dorset resident.

Film crews and movie stars have been spotted filming a third Downton Abbey film at Highclere Castle near Newbury, Berkshire.

Lord Julian Fellowes, who lives in West Stafford, near Dorchester, is behind the beloved historical drama franchise.

The third film is written by Lord Fellowes, who is an Oscar winner, and is directed by Simon Curtis, who also helmed the last instalment 2022's Downton Abbey: A New Era and 2011's My Week With Marilyn.

The latest edition of the hit period drama will see the return of Dominic West and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti as well as Michelle Dockery, playing the captivating and clever Lady Mary Talbot.

Dockery has said being back for the third Downton Abbey movie is "emotional" as the production begins.

In a YouTube video, she said: "It feels amazing and emotional. It's wonderful to be back together again.

"You come back together and it's like no time has passed at all. We're so happy to announce that we're in production for the third Downton Abbey movie. We can't wait to see you."

READ MORE: 'Downton Abbey star confirms third movie'

Downton Abbey – which ran for six seasons on television and branched out into cinema in 2019 – has always used Highclere Castle for its external shots, and most of the fictional country house’s interior shots are captured in Highclere as well.

In a blog post, Highclere’s Lady Carnarvon confirmed that production had begun and she reflected on Downton’s return to her stately home.

The Holdovers star Giamatti is reprising his role as Crawley matriarch Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) brother Harold Levinson, who appeared in a Downton Abbey Christmas special on ITV.

The Crown star West will play actor Guy Dexter following his appearance in Downton Abbey: A New Era as the love interest of the servant Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier).

Joining is Nip/Tuck actress Joely Richardson, The Many Saints Of Newark actor Alessandro Nivola, theatre actor Sir Simon Russell Beale and Carnival Row star Arty Froushan.

The new Downton Abbey film sees stars including Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, 7th Earl of Grantham, McGovern, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith James-Collier and Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, all reprise their roles.
Also returning is Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Allen Leech, Penelope Wilton, Lesley Nicol, Michael Fox, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Harry Hadden-Paton, Sophie McShera, Douglas Reith.

The new film is produced by Gareth Neame, Lord Fellowes and Liz Trubridge and made by Carnival Films, part of NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing.