Production is set to begin on the film adaptation of Downton Abbey this summer with the original TV cast reprising their roles.

Nearly three years after the hit period drama finished up its TV run, it has been confirmed that the much-loved characters will be making the jump to the big screen.

It was first reported that a movie adaptation was in the works last year.

A post on the programme's official Twitter account read: "Welcome back to Downton! We’re thrilled to announce that #DowntonAbbey is coming to the big screen. Film production begins this summer."

Downton's creator Julian Fellowes has written the film's screenplay, while Brican Percival, who directed the series' pilot, will helm the film. Fellowes will produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge.

Neame said: "When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.

"Julian's script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival's hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen." 

Joanne Froggatt, who played lady's maid Anna Bates, tweeted a photograph of herself alongside fellow cast members Michelle Dockery (who played Lady Mary Crawley) and Dame Maggie Smith (who played Lady Crawley), writing: "Delighted to announce we're getting the band back together! #DowntonMovie #DowntonAbbey."

Meanwhile Michelle Dockery shared her joy on Instagram, writing: "The secret's out... Thrilled to
announce that #DowntonAbbey is coming to the big screen. Filming to commence this summer @downtonabbey--official".

Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and their servants and ran for six hugely successful seasons. The series won three Golden Globe Awards, 15 Emmys and a special BAFTA.