Who is Hugh Bonneville? Meet the actor in Steven Moffat’s ITV cancel culture comedy-drama: Douglas Is Cancelled

Who is Hugh Bonneville? Meet the actor in Steven Moffat’s ITV cancel culture comedy-drama: Douglas Is Cancelled

HUGH Bonneville is best known for playing the Earl of Grantham in the much-loved period drama Downton Abbey.

His next big role is in the new ITV cancel culture comedy Douglas Is Cancelled. Here’s everything you need to know.

Hugh Bonneville and Karen Gillan play TV news anchors in Douglas Is Cancelled
Hugh Bonneville and Karen Gillan play TV news anchors in Douglas Is Cancelled

Who is Hugh Bonneville?

Hugh Bonneville was born in Blackheath, London on November 10, 1963.

He kicked off his acting career when he graduated from Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

The actor joined the National Theatre in 1987 and appeared in several plays before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991.

Thanks to his incredible acting career, as of 2024 Hugh has an estimated net worth of around £6.6M.

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Is Hugh Bonneville married and does he have any children?

Hugh was married to his wife Lucinda “Lulu” Evans from 1998 until they split in July 2023.

The actor was spotted smiling at a star-studded wedding ceremony on September 22 later that year — but he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring.

However in April 2024, Lulu was photographed in Petersfield, Hants — near her marital home in West Sussex — still wearing her wedding ring even after learning about Hugh’s new romance.

The Sun on Sunday revealed Hugh, 60, had been on a string of dates with Canadian divorcee Claire Rankin, 53.

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An insider said: “It is clear that Lulu feels as if 20-odd years of marriage counts for nothing.”

On September 29, a spokesperson for Hugh confirmed the couple — who were married for 25 years — had separated.

A source said: “It’s a shame as locally they were known to be a very sociable couple.

“Hugh has been away from home filming a lot this year.

Hugh Bonneville and wife Lulu Williams attending the Downton Abbey world premiere on September 9, 2019 in London, England
Hugh Bonneville and wife Lulu Williams attending the Downton Abbey world premiere on September 9, 2019 in London, EnglandCredit: Getty

“He has lost a bit of weight this summer, he was looking trim, tanned, and relaxed.”

Just six years ago, the couple marked their 20th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows at Graceland Chapel, Las Vegas.

The couple shares a son, Felix, but very little is known about him as they keep his personal information out of the public spotlight.

What film and TV programmes has Hugh Bonneville starred in?

Downton Abbey

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern as Lord and Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey
Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern as Lord and Lady Grantham in Downton AbbeyCredit: Alamy

Hugh is best known for playing as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in ITV‘s Downton Abbey.

The period drama chronicles the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.

He starred in 52 episodes throughout the show’s entire run from 2010 until 2015, and also took on the role in two highly successful movies — with a third set to be filmed in the summer of 2024.

W1A

Hugh has starred in W1A since 2014
Hugh has starred in W1A since 2014Credit: BBC Press Hanout

Another of Hugh’s beloved long-running TV roles was as Ian Fletcher — the former head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission who has taken up the position of Head of Values at the BBC.

The hilarious mockumentary created by John Morton satirises the way the BBC is managed.

Hugh featured in 16 episodes of the sitcom between 2014 and 2024.

He also took on the same role in Twenty Twelve (2011-12), W1A’s predecessor about organising the London 2012 Olympics.

Married for Life

Russ Abbot and Susan Kyd in Married For Life
Russ Abbot and Susan Kyd in Married For LifeCredit: PA:Press Association

Married For LIfe was a critically panned remake of the long-running US smash hit comedy Married With Children.

Hugh played Steve Hollingsworth, the neighbour of the married couple.

He appeared in all seven episodes of the comedy flop, which aired in 1996 and was cancelled after one series.

Hugh is also known for appearing in episodes of the following television shows:

  • Vicar of Dibley (2007)
  • Agatha Christie’s Poirot (2010)
  • Marple: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (2011)
  • The Hollow Crown (2016)
  • Sandylands (2020)
  • The Gold (2023)

Notting Hill

Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill
Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting HillCredit: Alamy

On the big screen, Hugh got his big break in 1999 when he starred in the romantic smash hit Notting Hill.

Featuring alongside Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, he played the role of hapless banker Bernie.

In one hilarious scene, he asks movie star Anna Scott, played by Roberts, how much she made for her last job, mistaking her a poor and unsuccessful actor, to which she replies $15million.

Paddington

Hugh Bonneville posing with Paddington Bear at the World Premiere of Paddington 2 at Odeon Leicester Square on November 5, 2017
Hugh Bonneville posing with Paddington Bear at the World Premiere of Paddington 2 at Odeon Leicester Square on November 5, 2017Credit: Getty

Hugh has played Mr Brown in all three Paddington Films — Paddington (2014), Paddington 2 (2017) and Paddington in Peru (2024).

Speaking to ClassicFm in 2022, the actor explained that it was more than just another role.

He said he was “nervous” about Paddington being “Hollywood-ised” because he though of the bear as his “first best friend” and that the series of books was the first he was able to read by himself as a child.

Hugh’s other biggest films include:

  • Mansfield Park (1999)
  • From Time to Time (2009)
  • The Monuments Men (2014)
  • The Corrupted (2019)
  • To Olivia (2021)

As well as on-screen success, Hugh also had a lot of success as a stage actor.

READ MORE SUN STORIES

He first performed at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, before joining the National Theatre in 1987.

He then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991, where he played Laertes in Hamlet.

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Joanne Kavanagh

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