Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens has revealed that he’s “still apologising” to fans who were upset by his exit from the show.
His character, Matthew Crawley, was killed in a car accident just moments after his wife Mary had given birth during the final episode of the period drama’s third season.
And why does he feel particularly bad about this?
Yep, the episode aired in the UK on 25th December 2012 – what a way to end Christmas Day!
Stevens told The Mirror: “The way Matthew went was out of my hands – but it was rather shocking.”
He added: “There were some very upset people and I’ve had to apologise to a lot of people over the past four years. But I take it as a compliment that Matthew was so loved on the show.”
The actor has also explained how Matthew’s death was originally supposed to be even more depressing in the first script!
He revealed: “I remember he had a line like: ‘I’ve never been happier in my life.’ And then he stepped off a curb and was hit by a grocery lorry.”
Stevens recalled a “mass revolt that this was just too much,” saying: “It was insane. You had people just running out of trailers saying: ‘No way, no way!'”
At least his decision to leave Downton Abbey has paid off, with roles for the star in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, acclaimed action thriller The Guest, acclaimed X-Men spin-off TV series Legion, The Man Who Invented Christmas, and Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
Stevens commented: “I’ve done a lot since [Downton] though – so hopefully people are seeing what I have been up to and are beginning to understand why I wanted to move on.”
Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection DVD box set is available on Amazon.