Downton Abbey's NZ link

Actor Hugh Bonneville had a Kiwi godfather

STEPHANIE HOLMES
Last updated 16:42 26/09/2012
Hugh Bonneville
PETER MEECHAM / Fairfax NZ
IN AUCKLAND: Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville is on a promotional tour to New Zealand.

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Hugh Bonneville, star of Emmy-winning British drama Downton Abbey, has revealed a life-long Kiwi connection.

In Auckland for a promotional tour ahead of the third season of the acclaimed period drama, Bonneville said his father - now a retired surgeon - trained under former governor general of New Zealand Sir Arthur Porritt who then became Bonneville's godfather.

"He was what every godfather should be," Bonneville said.

"He remembered my birthday, sent me five pounds every birthday and gave me sterling advice along the way. He was a big hero of mine actually, because my dad worshipped him because he was a very fine teacher and a good man."

Bonneville says he never got the chance to come to New Zealand to visit Porritt "but he did send me a photograph of him with the Queen, which I thought was pretty cool".

Bonneville, who flew out from Los Angeles last night after attending the Emmy Awards where he was nominated for best actor, is in New Zealand for the next few days before flying back to Britain where he will begin filming the title role in Mr Stink, an adaptation of comedian David Walliams' children's book.

Downton Abbey returns to Prime TV soon.

- You can read a full interview with Bonneville in the Culture section of this week's Sunday Star-Times.

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