hugh bonneville downton abbey season 3 premiere 'Downton Abbey' Season 3 premiere: 'Lots of fun and games to be had,' says star Hugh BonnevilleIt may be months away for the States-side fans, but “Downton Abbey” returns with its third season to the U.K. airwaves Sunday evening (Sept. 16). Zap2it caught up with star Hugh Bonneville to talk about what’s in store, which he says gets back to what fans loved about the first season.

“Season 3 doesn’t have those big colossal, global-impacting — it’s not like the Wall St crash has happened yet,” says Bonneville. “While the wounds of war and the uncertainties that that brought to the house and the industrial, economic chaos is all there in the background, there’s a sense of the world of Downton trying to reestablish itself.”

“The family ins and outs and the intrigues and so forth, the staff both sides of the green baize door become more the focus,” he continues. “The intrigues about the house trying to reestablish itself — Downton is
under threat, physically, which happened to a lot of estates after the
first World War. The books aren’t balancing as they were.”

But he adds, “There’s still lots of fun and games to be had.”

And part of the fun and games include the romantic goings-on of his on-screen daughters.

“We know that Matthew and Mary are engaged, but with those two you never do quite know — the course of true love never did run smooth and all that,” he teases. “And of course Sybil and Branson, they come to visit because she’s pregnant, and the idea of the chauffeur at the dinner table, that throws Carson into a right state. [Creator Julian Fellowes] has a lot of fun with the tiny little social nuances.”

“Downton Abbey” returns in the U.S. Jan. 6, 2013. Be sure to check out the new “Downton” Season 3 photographs in our gallery.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."