Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has signed up as a patron of a youth theatre organisation in his native Britain.

The star is supporting The National Youth Theatre, which he attended when he was younger.

Crediting the organisation for shaping his desire to act, he says, "I am delighted to become a patron of the National Youth Theatre. I'd not be doing what I do now were it not for this fantastic organisation: it opened my eyes to what was to become my career.

"It is an environment which, through theatre, celebrates individuality, demands collaboration, dedication and discipline and engenders mutual respect among its members, skills that are invaluable for any future walk of life. I look forward to waving the National Youth Theatre flag with pride."