Downton Abbey: Ed Speleers (Jimmy Kent) says kissing Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow) wasn’t that bad!

by Anna Howell

Whilst most of the nation found the last series of Downton Abbey captivating, it appears that some European broadcasters found certain scenes inappropriate, in particular the scene where Thomas Barrow tries to kiss Jimmy Kent.

However, the actors who play Thomas and Jimmy, Rob James Collier and Ed Speleers, have come forward to defend the scene, and Ed has even admitted to liking kissing his co-star!

Fans of the epic ITV period drama will know how, after much manipulation from O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran), Thomas followed Jimmy to his room, convinced that he had feelings for him, and tried to kiss his unwitting love interest. Of course, Jimmy recoiled in horror (such things were more than taboo in the era that this drama is set) and outed Thomas to the rest of the staff.

O’Brien remained the devil on his shoulder as she manipulated the situation more to get Jimmy to demand that Thomas be sacked without reference in a bid to get revenge on the stand in Valet, who was once her partner in crime.

This isn’t the first time that Downton Abbey, which is written by the genius Julian Fellowes, has featured a “gay kiss”. In series 1, Thomas and the Duke of Crowborough (Charlie Cox) were involved in a secret sexual arrangement, and were shown kissing each other.

When the series one kiss was picked up by one of Britain’s EU neighbours, Greece, it caused much controversy amongst the broadcasters who then decided to remove the scene altogether from the countries transmission, so as not to offend its traditionally macho (read homophobic) viewers, or upset their deeply religious standards.

However, this decision by the state broadcaster, ERT, to censor the episode was heavily criticised by the Greek press, leading to ERT’s managing director, Nikos Simos, also condemning the action. In a statement, as reported by Channel 24, the channel stated that its management had not been informed of the cut prior to transmission. Simos went on to say that it was an “unfortunate decision involving arbitrary censorship […] Such actions should be avoided in future.”

Now that a second gay kiss has been broadcast, the two stars involved in the plot, Collier and Speleers, have come out to openly discuss the kiss, which the UK did not bat an eyelid over!

Speaking in the current issue of Radio Times, Speleers explains how the kiss did not faze him, admitting that: “I loved that whole dynamic. [Rob] is a brilliant kisser.”

Meanwhile, James-Collier, had also discussed the kiss, in a recent interview with the Huffington Post, commenting, “Ed Speleers has got really soft lips. If you’re going to kiss a man, let it be a beautiful man like Ed Speleers. I’m not going to demand a beautiful guy. I’d kiss ugly guys as well, but if they’re good looking … it’s a bonus.”

Watch Rob James Collier and Allen Leech (Tom Branson) discussing the relationships within the cast of Downton Abbey in the clip below:

Downton Abbey is set to return to ITV on Christmas day with a festive special.