THE film from the hit drama created by West Stafford resident Julian Fellowes will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from January 27.

It is already available to download and stream from streaming services.

Downton Abbey the film (PG, 122 minutes) was an enormous hit on the big screen and a sequel is already in the works.

Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) receive written communication from Buckingham Palace via motorcycle messenger, informing them of the arrival of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James).

The visit is part of a royal tour of Yorkshire, which will reunite the King and Queen with their daughter, Mary, Princess Royal (Kate Phillips).

Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier), who has replaced Mr Carson (Jim Carter) as head butler, briefs the staff including housekeeper Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan), Lady Mary's maid Mrs Bates (Joanne Froggatt) and cook Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol).

Excitement is spiced with nervous anticipation because the Queen's lady in waiting, Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton), is a troublesome thorn on the Crawley family tree.

Downton Abbey is a crowd-pleasing frippery of froth, which assiduously ties up loose narrative threads from the acclaimed TV series and unpicks a few new ones.

Michael Engler's film is comfortingly and disappointingly familiar, welcoming back most of the main cast plus Scottish composer John Lunn to underscore every twitch of a hemline with swooning orchestrations.

Cinematographer Ben Smithard captures the Jacobethan splendour of Highclere Castle, the real-life Downton Abbey, in every conceivable flattering light.

Screenwriter Julian Fellowes serves up bite-size morsels of intrigue and romance to generate a steady trickle of conflicts, resolutions and cliffhangers.

He makes no concession to newcomers to his rarefied world and expects a passable knowledge of the characters.

His script arms Dame Maggie Smith with the lioness's share of biting one-liners and she delivers with lip-smacking relish.

Rating: ***