Allen Leech has said he is "pretty sure" filming for the sequel to 2019's well-received Downton Abbey movie outing "is going to happen this year".

The 39-year-old Dublin actor, who is best known for playing Tom Branson on the popular drama, said he and his co-stars are eager to get the show on the road.

Speaking on Friday's Late Late Show on RTÉ One, he said: "Covid willing...we're all geared up and ready to go and we're just waiting for a green light.

"Whether that's allowing Maggie Smith out of a gold plated bubble or getting everyone back together, but I'm pretty sure it's going to happen this year, fingers crossed," he said.

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Opening up about playing Freddie Mercury's manager and lover John Prenter alongside Rami Malek in 2018's acclaimed Bohemian Rhapsody, Leech said he had no idea the movie was going to hit all the right notes with audiences.

"We obviously knew the success that Queen had as a band but we didn't know if people were going to take the story to their hearts as well.

"It's been well-documented that it was a very difficult shoot. We got shut down three times. We were even surprised that we got to finish the movie; let alone when it came out to have the response that it did.

Allen Leech, Brian May, Rami Malek, Roger Taylor, Joseph Mazzello, and Gwilym Lee at Bohemian Rhapsody's New York premiere

"I mean, I got an inkling that something special was happening. I think about a week and a half after I saw you [on his last Late Late interview] we went down to Carnaby Street and the Christmas lights for that year were actually all Queen quotes from their songs.

"To watch the amount of people that turned up for that - I think there was something like 25,000 people - who tuned up to watch that. There was a real energy about it coming out," he said.

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Leech continued: "Then the critics came out with their response which was pretty lukewarm, and then people voted with their feet and went to see it.

"It just shows how loved they are as a band because the last fifteen minutes is basically the whole set of Live Aid."

"I went to see it incognito with some of the guys from the band and the fact that people were dancing up the aisles was pretty wild."

Referring to the movie's success, he said: "People don't talk about this but it was the most successful movie at the Oscars that year which is kind of unheard of."

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You can catch the full interview back on the RTÉ Player.