Hugh Bonneville found working in a pub "really bleak".

Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville

The 'Downton Abbey' star took a job in a bar to fund a planned trip travelling across Africa to India but hated the experience so much, he opted to clean toilets elsewhere instead.

He said: "It was around 1982, and I had to save £400 to travel across Africa to India.

"I tried working in a pub up Edgware Road in London. It was bleak, really bleak.

"there was a three-legged dog in the corner and one bloke at the bar and the room was full of cigarette smoke. It was depressing beyond hell.

"I thought, 'However much I want to fly across the world, I can't do this.' That's why I took up the toilet cleaning, at a legal firm in Marylebone."

The 53-year-old actor planned to become a barrister if his acting career hadn't taken off but thinks he'd have been "terrible" in the courtroom because he isn't focused enough.

He admitted to Radio Times magazine: "I'd have been terrible. My mind wouldn't have focused. I wouldn't have been able to retain case law and all that. I think I'm a shirker rather than a sherpa.

"I was attracted to the performance side, rather than being a sensible solicitor with a steady income.

"I used to spend time watching the law courts when I was a teenager. I would go along like a nerd in the holiday and just find out about it. In retrospect, I was probably watching the theatricality."

Despite his career success, the 'Paddington' star insists he never takes work for granted.

He said: "You know, you're always convinced the next job will be the last one."

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