Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville is urging TV bosses to speed up international broadcasts of the hit British TV show to avoid storyline spoilers and piracy.

The actor fears the period drama is ruined for many international fans as plot lines become common knowledge after the initial UK screening of the show, but before the series is shown abroad.

Bonneville also fears the gap between the British and international broadcasts leads to piracy and illegal downloads as fans rush to see new episodes of the show which have yet to be screened in their country - and he wants TV bosses to fix the problem.

"The idea of fans all over the world trying not to reveal storylines is becoming increasingly impossible," he tells UK newspaper, The People.


"With people downloading - legally or illegally - it'd make sense to give everyone a shorter release window. It would reduce piracy instantly and let fans abroad view in high definition on TV rather than on a laptop."

The third season of Downton Abbey is about to conclude in the UK, and has yet to start in both the United States and Australia.

Prime has been airing episodes of the new season in New Zealand since October 18.