Downton Abbey: Rob James Collier says his character Thomas Barrow should have been killed off in series 1!

by Anna Howell

With the fourth series finally commissioned for the hugely popular ITV period drama, Downton Abbey, one of its main stars can’t quite believe his luck at staying on!

Rob James Collier, who plays villainous Thomas Barrow in the epic and Golden Globe winning show, has revealed that he thought his character should have been killed off by now.

Fans of the hit drama will know Rob’s character, Thomas Barrow, has been one of the constant streams of poison running through the veins of the great stately house, causing more trouble and mayhem than any good under-butler ever should.

Rob, who also played Liam Connor in Coronation Street, has portrayed his evil character in true style, manipulating staff and employers alike, getting away with every bit of nastiness he inflicted on those around him.

So far viewers have seen Thomas steal Lord Grantham’s (Hugh Bonneville) dog, Isis, in order to look a hero when finding him because he wanted to gain his masters trust enough to get a promotion to valet. He has tried to frame Bates (Brendan Coyle) for stealing from the family in order to take his job. And when he was called upon to join the war efforts he used his position in the house to secure what he thought was a cushy job, then shot himself in the hand when it turned out it wasn’t as pleasant as he thought, getting a ticket straight back to Downton.

However, Rob James Collier, who plays Thomas, was still shocked to his core when asked to come back for a fourth series, especially as it was the writers intention to have him killed off at the end of series one, according to US magazine, Out.

Discussing his surprise, Collier explained:

“He said, ‘Listen, you’ve got the part that everyone in town wants – he’s a villain, he’s a great role, the only bad thing is that he dies at the end of the first series.'”

“I gave it 110 per cent, and after the first couple of episodes, Liz, the producer, came to me and said, ‘We want you to stay on. Will you?’ And I was like, ‘F**k, yeah!'”

Thomas has plotted with his partner in crime O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran) to set up, humiliate and manipulate just about everyone at Downton, and has been sacked then re-employed more times than you can shake a stick at, but while Rob James Collier can’t see why such a character would be allowed to stay on because of that , we certainly can!

Downton Abbey is, arguably, one of the greatest dramas ever brought to life, but on paper it just shouldn’t work. In this day and age, with some of the awful things happening all around the world, who would have thought that we, as a nation, would be able to sit for an hour and be transported back in time to be actually shocked at an unmarried married maid having a baby as a result of a one night stand?

But we are, and continue to be. And the reason for this is simple; it is the perfect combination of writing, production, acting and the diverse range of some of the most fascinating characters ever seen on TV.

And Thomas Barrow is most certainly one of the best. Without that little interception of deviousness casting a light and shade contrast to the show giving Downton that edge, that platform to layer its stories and characters alike, the show would just not be the same.

We can’t wait to see what drama Thomas creates in series four, can you?

Watch Rob James Collier discussing his Downton character in the clip below:

1 Comment

  1. Rob on January 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Actually I can’t stand the character of Thomas, my least favourite character of all BUT the guy that plays him is a very good actor I will say that much

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