Imelda Staunton has said it was a thrill joining her husband Jim Carter in the Downton Abbey film.

The actress, 63, is playing Lady Maud Bagshaw in the big screen adaptation of the hit ITV series, in which her husband plays butler Mr Carson.

“It was very nice indeed, having had inside information for many years,” she said.

“It was really nice. We only got to work together for a couple of days, but it was thrilling. I was just so excited.”

Set in 1927, the film sees the return of the principal cast, including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Dame Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt and Laura Carmichael.

The storyline continues after the series left off in 1925 in the 2015 Christmas special.

Staunton said her character wears “quite an ordinary little whatever” but that some of the outfits are “absolutely stunning”.

“Michelle’s costumes are sensational,” she said.

“So that will look good on the big screen.

“It’s the same designer but you have to think on a different scale. It’s a different canvas.”

The actress said it is important that the film adaptation satisfies fans of the period drama.

“You just don’t want to disappoint them, the fans,” she said.

“I can’t tell, I really can’t, because I am a sort of outsider, but you just want it to go down well and it not to be a bloody huge disappointment.”

“For anything you want to satisfy the fans because they made it, they really have made it,” she said.

Staunton is also set to star in new ITV drama A Confession, which starts in September.