Hugh Bonneville gets ''pathetically excited'' about Father Christmas.

The 'Downton Abbey' actor has confessed he turns into an eager child during the festive season and is ''religious'' about making sure everything is done right for the arrival of the main man on Christmas Day (25.12.12).

He revealed: ''I'm in charge of games. No, my main role is to keep out of the way! I get pathetically excited about Father Christmas coming and I'm religious about putting out mince pies and a glass of wine and then checking for

footprints in the fireplace.''

Hugh, who has 11-year-old son Felix with wife of 27 years Lulu Williams, will make several appearances on UK TV this year. Not only will he star in the 'Downton Abbey' Christmas special as Lord Grantham but he will also be in David Walliams' adaptation of children's book 'Mr Stink', playing the main character.

Describing the story in his own words Hugh, 49, said: ''[Mr Stink] is very different and yet not so different [from Lord Grantham]. He's visually very different - he's a messy, curmudgeonly tramp.

''It's a glorious Christmas story that has all the elements of a traditional Christmas fable, but it's very contemporary. It's full of fart and poo jokes, as you would expect from David Walliams!

''It also touches upon the way we treat those less fortunate than ourselves. It's very warm.''