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Playing Under the Piano: 'Comedy gold' Sunday Times

On sale

15th June 2023

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349145143

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Hugh Bonneville is one of Britain’s most accomplished actors, whose credits include Downton Abbey, W1A and the Paddington films.

‘I don’t remember when I last read a book that gave me so many laughs’ Christina Patterson, Sunday Times
‘Tremendously entertaining’ Rachel Cooke, Observer
‘A writer of considerable urbanity and wit’ Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph
‘You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love Hugh even more’ Woman & Home

Hugh Bonneville is one of Britain’s most accomplished actors, familiar to audiences worldwide for his roles in Notting Hill, the Paddington films and Downton Abbey. From getting his big break as Third Shepherd in the school nativity play, to mistaking a Hollywood star for an estate agent, Hugh creates a brilliantly vivid picture of a career on stage and screen. What is it like working with Judi Dench and Julia Roberts, or playing Robert de Niro’s right leg, or not being Gary Oldman, twice? A wickedly funny storyteller, Hugh also writes with poignancy about his father’s dementia and of his mother, whose life in the secret service only emerged after her death. Whether telling stories of working with divas, Dames or a bear with a penchant for marmalade, this is a richly entertaining account of his life as an actor.


Griff Rhys Jones
Charming, joyous and entertaining, just like Hugh.
Books of the Year, The Times
A beautifully poised memoir, both insightful and - occasionally - laugh-out-loud funny, with the gift for comic timing he reveals on screen and a sharp eye for detail... warmly engrossing
Graham Norton
A great read
Country Living
Witty and moving
Daily Mirror
An enormously entertaining memoir
Reader's Digest
Bonneville tells of his life with appealing modesty... he gives us plenty of backstage gossip
Gyles Brandreth
By turns funny, touching, revealing - full of insights, delights and surprises. I couldn't have enjoyed it more
The Gloss
Though a funny raconteur, Bonneville also writes poignantly about his father's dementia and of his mother, whose life in the secret service only emerged after her death
Christina Patterson, Sunday Times
Comedy gold... I don't remember when I last read a book that gave me so many laughs... A riveting account of what it takes to be an actor
Jack Whitehall
Really enjoyed this. Wonderfully funny and utterly charming - just like the man himself!
Yorkshire Post
A collection of stories painting a brilliantly vivid picture of a career on stage and screen
Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph
A writer of considerable urbanity and wit. Gary Oldman says it is 'beautiful, touching and funny'. I agree.
RTE Guide
Bonneville's affable screen presence richly translated onto the page through anecdotes and adventures... there are many howling laughs in this frequently entertaining memoir
Mail on Sunday
Bonneville is entertaining, with a clear-eyed view of his trade... Reliving it all so far with light and shade, bite and bonhomie, as a memoirist Bonneville passes the audition with flying colours
Gary Oldman
When other books have been forgotten, this one will be remembered. Hugh Bonneville's considerable talent for writing is on display page after page. Beautiful. Touching. And funny.
Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph
The Downton star proves himself to be a polished raconteur
Ben Macintyre, Books of the Year, The Times
Playing Under the Piano made me hoot
Woman & Home
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll love Hugh even more
Rachel Cooke, Observer
Tremendously entertaining... if collapsing into laughter is what you need at the moment, then Playing Under the Piano could be the book for you... a delicious and endearing mode somewhere between utmost sincerity and utter bafflement
Richard Curtis
A gorgeous book. Warm, friendly, funny and sometimes surprisingly emotional. Very like Hugh himself
Neil Norman, Daily Express
The tone of Hugh Bonneville's autobiography is very much like the man himself - warm, charming, funny and thoroughly embraceable... There is a refreshing lack of narcissism in a narrative poised between detached observation and amused self-reflection... An enormously entertaining memoir
Jane Shilling, Daily Mail
Gloriously funny... Between the laugh-out-loud anecdotes are revealing stories of the less glamorous side of an actor's life, as well as poignant family memories