ONE of the most long-awaited films of the year, Downton Abbey, looks set to make history for the Regent Centre in Christchurch.

The art deco venue is hosting 52 screenings of the PG rated film between Friday, September 13 and Thursday, October 10.

Regent film programming manager Gary Theobald said: "Advance sales are already standing at 2,500 seats – an unprecedented achievement in the history of cinema presentations at the Regent Centre since it re-opened in 1983."

To mark the opening day on September 13, there will be a display of six classic 1920s cars outside the centre in Christchurch High Street between 6pm and 7.30pm. There will be five Austin cars of the era ranging in age from 1925 – 1932 and centre stage will be a magnificent 1925 Rolls Royce 20HP limousine which is owned by the Regent Centre's chairman, Gary Trinder. Former owners include two of the UK's most famous architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Oliver Hill.

Here's six facts about the much loved period drama to whet your appetite.

1. The ITV show aired its final episode in 2015 after six series

2. Picking up in 1927 (over a year after the endpoint of the series), the film is based on changing times, and sees the Crawley family and their staff preparing for a royal visit from George V and Queen Mary

3. Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville all return to their roles

4. New faces include Killing Eve actor David Haig as the King's butler

5. The King and Queen are played by Simon Jones and Geraldine James

6. Written by Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey won several accolades including Emmys and Golden Globes