Julian Fellowes has revealed the glamorous ladies of Downton Abbey will be rolling up their sleeves for the war effort in the new series.

The writer of the hit ITV drama, starring Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville, said the outbreak of the First World War forced all the women of Britain to change, as we will see in series two later this year.

Julian said: “I hope it goes on being reasonably glamorous, I think I would be sad to think… but you know war time is a strange time.

“Suddenly women were working in ways they hadn’t been working before the war, even posh women. And that changed them and in a way they had to change the world to match what had happened to them during the war and they got the vote in 1919 and all sorts of things changed.

“I hope we’ve shown some of that. I think it was an extraordinary period of change. When you think there’s only five years between 1914 and 1919, when the world was like a different planet. It is extraordinary.”

The former Monarch Of The Glen star admitted he was surprised by what a hit the first series of Downton Abbey had been, with both men and women of all ages.

He said: “I was surprised by the scale of it. Yes I was.

“And I was also very thrilled because we had a very broadly based audience. We had young and old and all over the country and different social types, and so there wasn’t a clear profile of our audience member – it seemed to be everyone.

“You couldn’t say ‘Oh, that’s a typical Downton watcher’. There wasn’t such a thing and that was great.”

The new series of Downton Abbey has begun filming to air on ITV later this year.

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