A DORSET actor says he has received the best possible present after appearing in a major Netflix period drama which debuted on Christmas Day.

Chris Manning, 42, from Lytchett Matravers, auditioned for a supporting role in Bridgerton, an 1820s high society series, after appearing in the feature film 1917.

After a full day’s auditioning in Bath, Mr Manning spent seven months of 2019 on the set of the multi-million pound production.

Mr Manning told the Daily Echo: “I finished up working on the set of 1917 and when that came to an end, I got an email through from the casting agents saying would I be interested in appearing in a high society period drama.

“The audition was quite gruelling, it was a long day. There were a few hundred there and all the producers were there.

“I got down to the last five or six for supporting roles and got a call to say I had been selected.”

Mr Manning landed the role of a diplomat and close friend of the Bridgerton family.

Jonathan Bailey stars in the series, playing Anthony Bridgerton, alongside Ben Miller who plays Lord Featherington.

“I was overwhelmed initially,” Mr Manning added.

“I didn’t realise how big a production it would be. I think they spent £250million on it.

“Right from the off it was clear it would be something very special.

“There were wonderful moments right through 2019 where, luck would have it, I was right in the thick of the action.”

Mr Manning said he was particularly looking forward to the scene where he and Jonathan Bailey are discussing a potential relationship for the latter’s character.

“It is going to be exciting, probably one of the best Christmas presents I have had,” he continued.

“I have to be careful because my kids are quite young and it is quite raunchy. Me and my wife will sit down on Christmas night when the kids have gone to bed.

“We filmed at stunning locations like Prince Philip House, Hampton Court Palace and The Royal Opera House in London. We were dressed in the most lavish and exquisite custom-made costumes which were tailor made for each actor.

“I feel privileged to have played my part in what is set to be a ground-breaking drama with an inclusive cast and is set to change they we view period dramas forever. As a result of landing this role, I’m thrilled to have been shortlisted to play the double for a major lead in a 2021 feature film which commences filming in March.

“It’s been an immensely challenging time this year for myself and everyone who works in the film industry as a result of the lockdown’s and restrictions imposed, however I’m encouraged and pleased to see that future productions for next year are now booting up and preparing to get back on set again.”

Mr Manning will be reacting to the series on his YouTube channel, ChrisManningFilms