Hugh Bonneville launched his acting career with London's National Youth Theatre, while simultaneously studying theology at Cambridge University. He also trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. A veteran Masterpiece actor, he has appeared in Miss Austen Regrets, Daniel Deronda, Madame Bovary and The Cazalets among others. Bonneville appeared opposite Kate Winslet in the 2001 feature film Iris, and is slated to star in the 2012 feature film The Return of Captain Nemo, alongside Masterpiece alums Hayley Atwell (Any Human Heart) and David Morrissey (South Riding).
Bonneville calls writer/director Julian Fellowes, "the most humane of writers..." And he speaks affectionately of the characters in Downton Abbey as being three-dimensional. "They aren't goodies, or baddies; they are like all of us — flawed."