Downton Abbey’s Rob James-Collier: I was devastated when Siobhan Finneran left

"To have that sort of friend and ally gone was a big wrench for me"


Rob James-Collier, the actor who plays Downton Abbey’s devious under-butler Thomas Barrow, has admitted to being “devastated” when his co-star Siobhan Finneran left the show. 


Finneran, who played lady’s maid and Thomas Barrow’s partner-in-crime O’Brien, left the show in between series three and four. 

“I was devastated,” said James-Collier at the launch for the show’s fourth series. “She’s the best actor I’ve ever worked with. I’ve not worked with many so it’s not much of a badge of honor! But she was brilliant.”

“She was also really funny and we were really good friends. Really strong character, a very funny woman, brilliant actor.”

It seems their friendship wasn’t the only thing James-Collier will miss about having Finneran around on set. “I copied everything off her – the stillness, the economy of movement, throwing everything away because it makes you more sinister. I was going to go over the top and try and be Marlon Brando.

“To have that sort of friend and ally gone was a big wrench for me,” he continued. “I still keep in touch with her but I wish she was back. But, you know, it was her decision to leave to go and do other stuff.”

“I think she left behind a superb character. I think she was a lot of people’s favourite and quite rightly because she was just so enigmatic and dark… I love her and I want her to come back!” 

Downton Abbey returns to ITV on 22 September.