Parts of old Harwich were transformed into a 1900s film set last month for Downton Abbey filming.

Stars were seen shooting scenes in areas including King's Quay Street by the grand Electric Palace Cinema.

Roads around King's Quay Street were closed for the filming to take place and Wellington Road Car park was shut to the public.

Traffic wardens and security guards surrounded the set to prevent people from interrupting any filming.

The first film starred Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern.

Producers said the new movie will feature the original cast, as well as Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West.

The new film, penned once again by Julian Fellowes, is set to release on December 22.

Gareth Neame, the film’s producer and executive chairman of Carnival Films, said: “After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be reunited with the much-beloved characters of Downton Abbey.”

The first movie, in 2019, followed a royal visit to the Crawley family and Downton staff.

Critics were largely united in calling the film a decent, if unspectacular, adaptation.

The hugely popular TV series aired on ITV from 2010 to 2015 and followed the fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their downstairs servants at a Yorkshire country estate.

Simon Curtis, whose credits include My Week With Marilyn, will direct the sequel.

Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, previously said coronavirus kept creating obstacles for the planning of the sequel.

“We’d love to do it and there is a great intent, but a little thing called coronavirus keeps getting in the way,” he told The Graham Norton Show.

“It would be super to think that sometime this year the cameras would roll, because a Downton-type cheery movie would be very welcome in cinemas when they reopen eventually.

“There is a script, but not all the ducks are in a row yet – they are certainly not in the pond.”