Dan Stevens to leave Downton Abbey at start of Series 4
Matthew Crawley set to follow Lady Sybil out of the country pile, but what about Lady Mary?
MONTHS after the shock death in childbirth of Lady Sybil in the ITV blockbuster Downton Abbey, Matthew Crawley is set to make his own terminal exit from the country pile.
Crawley, played by Dan Stevens, is one of Downton’s principal characters and his love affair and marriage to Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, has been the plotline around which the rest of the show has revolved for its three seasons.
The manner of Crawley’s departure from the show is yet to be decided, but a “well-placed production source” told the Sunday Express: “Dan Stevens isn’t returning to the series. He will probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it.”
Stevens, 30, will also appear in a two-hour Christmas special in which the aristocrats leave Downton Abbey, and most of their servants, for a summer holiday at Duneagle Castle in Scotland.
The Highland pile is the home of Lady Rose (Lily James), who was sent home in disgrace in the final episode of Series 3 after her dalliance with a married man.
Stevens is the second major star to leave Downton Abbey in months. Lady Sybil, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, quit the show in the middle of the most recent series to pursue a career in Hollywood. There are now questions over whether Dockery will remain in the series without her on-screen husband.
The news comes days after the fourth series of the ITV blockbuster was announced. According to ITV News, filming of eight new episodes and a 2013 Christmas special will begin at Highclere Castle and Ealing Studios in February 2013. It will be broadcast next autumn.