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Hugh Bonneville: Downton Abbey “Lost Its Identity” in Season Two

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Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham 

Downton Abbey returns for a third season on Sunday, Jan. 6, and according to series star Hugh Bonneville, there are a lot of great things in store for fans. But the same can't be said for the actor's alter ego, the Earl of Grantham.

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"He's a bit of a dinosaur. At the end of season one, you felt that he was a man that while conservative by birth, was liberal in outlook and compassionate and had one eye on the future," the 49-year-old Brit explains of his characer in a new interview with Vulture. "But by the time you get to season three, he clearly wants everything to stay in 1912…He spends a lot of the season with his back against the wall."

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That said, Bonneville claims that the upcoming episodes mark a return to form of sorts for both the fictional Crawley family and the PBS Masterpiece Classic show that follows their lives through the post-Edwardian era.

"The tone of season two was about the effect the outside world was having on the house. Downton lost its identity," the star says. "But with the war over, there is a sense that everything has quieted down, and the focus is back on to the characters and the world you knew in season one."

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In theory, at least. "Of course, it's all shifted," he adds. "Nothing can be the same again."

That will become even clearer should the series continue beyond its already-confirmed fourth season, Bonneville says.

"They could lose [the house]," he speculates of what might happen to the Crawleys and their beloved Yorkshire country estate. "After World War II, the major estates really did collapse. It will be interesting to see what [show creator Julian Fellowes] does with next season and if indeed there will be a fifth, how far he'll take it."

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