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Hugh transformed for Stink role
Hugh Bonneville has revealed the effort required to make him unrecognisable for his latest TV role.
The actor - who viewers are more used to seeing as the upper crust Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey - donned shabby clothes, a bushy grey beard and unkempt hair for his role as homeless man Mr Stink for a new BBC drama.
"It took an hour and a half in make-up," the actor announced proudly, before adding: "Our make-up director had great fun getting just the right consistency of snot to embed in my moustache."
Not only that, but the title character in the adaptation of David Walliams' children's book is followed everywhere he goes by a special effects haze of putrid smell. When you're sleeping rough, personal hygiene standards tend to slip, but Bonneville said there's another reason why Mr Stink smells as he does.
"He's very much an outsider, and this wall of aroma around him keeps people away. He doesn't want people to get too close," he said. However, much to his suspicion, a 12-year-old girl called Chloe (played by Nell Tiger Free) decides to befriend Mr Stink.
Hugh described the adaptation, which also stars Sheridan Smith and Jonny Vegas as Chloe's pushy mum and pushover dad, as "bright, poppy, big and broad" and said one of the funniest things about it is seeing the state of Sheridan's hair.
He said: "She has this extraordinary beehive which grows and collapses with her fortunes, and there was a wonderful moment in the kitchen when things don't go well and she puts her face in the porridge. There was a lot of giggling going on."
Another key member of the cast is Britain's Got Talent canine winner Pudsey as Mr Stink's beloved companion Duchess. No stranger to working with dogs on set, Hugh knew how to butter up Pudsey in the same way he has to butter up Labrador Isis on the set of Downton.
"Put it this way, they both love treats," he said. "They'll do anything for treats - a bit like actors really."
:: Mr Stink is on BBC One on Sunday, December 23.