Well, this is a sentence we never thought we'd write: Downton Abbey butlers Thomas Barrow and Mr Bates have traded flying insults for... lightsabers. Yes, despite being set in the early 20th century, the simmering resentment between Downton's two downstairs staff has taken a Star Wars-inspired turn in a special video filmed by Rob James-Collier (who play Thomas) on his iPhone during time between takes (of which – based on this evidence – there must be a lot).
It's all in aid of his participation in the London Marathon this weekend to raise money for his charity – The Chilterns MS Centre. The video – which was first uploaded on 6th April – is one of two, with James-Collier promising to release the second instalment once his total of £10,000 has been reached (a target already met).
Starring Brendan Coyle as Bates with appearances from Joanne Froggatt (Anna), Jim Carter (Carson) and James-Collier himself, the six-minute video sees "the force strong" with Lord Grantham's butler... Yes, there's a cape, yes there are light sabers, no, there is no Darth Vader (perhaps he's saving that for part two?)
James-Collier has already taken to YouTube, appearing on set at Highclere Castle, to thank fans for meeting his target via website www.evilbutler.com, promising that the second instalment will be winging its way to us soon. We'll let him off for the delay – after all, the man does have a marathon to train for...
The London Marathon takes place this Sunday 26th April. Downton Abbey returns to screens for a sixth and final series this autumn