Bonneville attended Cambridge university and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He has appeared in many television series including Doctor Who, Poirot and The Vicar of Dibley.
- Bonneville had a cameo role in the pilot episode of Da Vinci's Demons, a series whose main cast includes Downton co-stars Michael Culkin and James Faulkner. Faulkner and Bonneville also starred together in a TV adaptation of Ben-Hur, alongside Stephen Campbell Moore.
- He and Downton co-star Bernard Gallagher each starred in different episodes of Cadfael, in which Bonneville was credited as "Richard Bonneville".
- Bonneville, Samantha Bond, and Julian Fellowes starred in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
- He and Charles Edwards starred in Mansfield Park.
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