Downton Abbey's status as a launchpad for global acting careers grows with news that former Downton star Dan Stevens is set to star in the latest big screen version of classic children's story, Swallows and Amazons.

Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley in the big house drama, will play Captain Flint in the new adapation of Arthur Ransome's 1930 novel. Crawley was killed off in a dramatic Downton Christmas Day special last year, after Stevens decided he'd had enough of playing a middle-class lawyer turned toff.

The actor has since gone on to appear on Broadway alongside Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain in The Heiress and has recently been filming The Fifth Estate, a new movie based on Julian Assange and Wikileaks, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Laura Linney.