Downton Abbey's Rob James-Collier Hints At Trouble Ahead For Thomas

Rob James-Collier on the February 2013 cover of Out magazine Rob James-Collier on the February 2013 cover of Out magazine

“Downton Abbey” returns for its highly-anticipated Season 3 on PBS this Sunday and fans of Thomas Barrow will delight in knowing the servant is about to face some major drama, hinged around his sexuality.

“It’s the series where we really get to grips with Thomas’s sexuality and the impact that must have had on him, being gay in Edwardian times,” actor Rob James-Collier, who plays the valet, told Out magazine, which features the British hunk on its newest cover.

“If you’re including a gay character, there’s an onus and responsibility to at least show what the impact of the time will be on him, and of him on that time. Thankfully we’ve done that, and I’m so proud as an actor that I’ve been used to tell that tale,” he added.

Thomas’ scheming with the maid O’Brien has been a highlight for viewers of the series, but they actually were only expected to have a short friendship. According to Rob, Thomas was supposed to be killed off in the first season.

“My agent said, ‘Listen, you’ve got the part that everyone in town wants — he’s a villain, he’s a great role, the only bad thing is that he dies at the end of the first series,’ ” the actor told Out.

So what made producers change their minds?

“I gave it 110 percent and after the first couple of episodes Liz, the producer, came to me, and said, ‘We want you to stay on, will you?’ And I was, like, ‘F***, yeah,” he said.

“Downton Abbey” returns on Sunday, January 6 on PBS.

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