Star couple join up to mark war’s centenary

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Downton Abbey star Jim Carter and his actress wife Imelda Staunton have teamed up with folk music pals to record an album of war poetry to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Harrogate-born Carter, known to millions as Mr Carson in the ITV period drama, has worked with Show Of Hands whom he has known for many years having once shared a house with the acoustic band’s Steve Knightley.

The album, Centenary: Words & Music Of The Great War, is being released in the summer.

Carter and Staunton read their words to new arrangements of music from the era.

The selection of poems includes Wilfred Owen’s Anthem For Doomed Youth and Dulce Et Decorum Est, along with works by Siegfried Sassoon and I Have A Rendezvous With Death, written by Alan Seeger, the uncle of the late folk star Peter Seeger. There are also works by female poets as well as AE Housman’s The Lads In Their Hundreds.

Carter worked with the group many years ago when he narrated their project Tall Ships in 1990. He said despite being married to Staunton for three decades this album was “a very rare opportunity for us to work together”.

Knightley said: “I have known Jim since the Eighties. We used to share a house together in Maida Vale, London. He was in the basement and I lived upstairs. I was on the rock band scene and he was at the National Theatre.

“We thought of the pieces as brief scenes from a film and treated the songs as half-remembered, distant reveries that with the extraordinary voices of Jim and Imelda just came alive.”

Post First World War special: Inside

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