Allen Leech enjoyed a "family reunion" at the first cast meeting for the ‘Downton Abbey’ movie.
The 37-year-old actor will reprise his role as estate manager Tom Branson in the upcoming big screen spin-off from the period drama series and he was delighted to see all his castmates again at the first script read for the project.
He said: "It was wonderful to see everyone again when we did the first read through, to see Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern and Jim Carter.
"It was like a family reunion and I wish it could have gone on longer."
Allen admitted he was dissatisfied with the ending his character got when the final series of the show aired in 2015 but he’s pleased with his movie storyline and thinks it’s a fitting way to say goodbye to his alter ego.
He told HELLO! magazine: "When you think you have said goodbye to a character, to be able to go back is a gift.
"I felt, and I think a lot of the fans felt, that Tom never got the ending he deserved. I am happy to say I think he does in this.
"Julian (Fellowes, showrunner) has given Tom such a lovely storyline that it does feel that, if this is when we finally say goodbye, this is the way to say it."
Earlier this month, Allen tied the knot with girlfriend Jessica Blair Herman, with ‘Downton’ stars Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery in attendance, but he also received a number of kind messages from his other co-stars – and a particularly special one from Hugh Bonneville, who played his father-in-law on the show.
He said: "The people I worked with on that show are like family and the messages and congratulations were so heartfelt and numerous.
"At the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding Michelle gave a surprise speech, which was a message from Hugh Bonneville, who unfortunately couldn’t make it over for the wedding.
"It was so heartfelt and beautiful, giving advice for having me as a son-in-law, which had everyone laughing."