Here’s the real reason O’Brien disappeared from ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abbey fans were left confused at the start of the show’s fourth season when the character of O’Brien had mysteriously vanished.

Scheming lady’s maid Sarah O’Brien had appeared in the hit period drama since the first episode, but viewers never saw a departure scene and were provided with only a very brief line of dialogue to explain her absence in Season 4’s opening episode – after which she was never spoken of again!

Actress Siobhan Finneran has revealed that her exit was down to nothing more dramatic than her contract ending.

However, unlike her castmates Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens, who also decided not to continue with Downton Abbey once their original three-year contracts expired, Finneran was never given an official exit.

The Happy Valley star explained: “I signed up to do three series and that was all I wanted to do. I talked it through with my family and it was the right decision for all of us.”

She added: “I had great fun doing it but I just didn’t want to do it any more. I decided this before we even did the last series. When I stop loving something, I stop doing it.”

Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection is available to buy now.

The long-awaited Downton Abbey movie is expected to begin filming in 2018, although there remains some uncertainty about which cast members will return.