Downton Abbey star, Siobhan Finneran, has revealed that she is the latest in, what seems to be, a long list of cast members to quit the hugely popular ITV drama ahead of its much-anticipated fourth series.
Siobhan, who also played Janice in ITV hit comedy Benidorm, has played manipulative and scheming Lady’s Maid, O’Brien, since the show first began back in 2010 and, despite her characters villainous ways, has been a firm favourite with audiences all over the world.
However, despite such huge critical acclaim Finneran has decided to leave the show, feeling that it was time to “move on”, the Sun newspaper reports.
Unlike the departure of both Jessica Brown-Findlay who played Lady Sybil and Dan Stevens who played Matthew Crawley, it is expected that Finneran’s character, Sarah O’Brien, will have the door left open for her.
Both Matthew and Sybil had to be killed off in Downton last year as, after both actors decided to quit, there was no other realistic way for their characters to leave being central to the family.
However, in O’Brien’s case, working downstairs means that there other options open to departing characters such as a change of job, meaning that, whilst it still remains unconfirmed as to how O’Brien leaves, it is unlikely that she will be killed off meaning that Finneran can return to the show in the future should she want to.
Speaking to the publication about her departure, Finneran explained:
“I presume my absence is explained — you’ll have to wait and see. I loved the job and I miss my mates on the show, but it was time to move on.”
Meanwhile a show source said: “The door will be left open for Siobhan to return.”
As for Finneran’s future, the highly talented actress has just taken on a leading role in a new BBC drama, The Syndicate, where she will play a nurse who wins £14million share in a lottery win.
Discussing her new role Finneran admitted that she is looking forward to playing a character that viewers will warm to, unlike O’Brien who she described as “a harsh, nasty piece of work,” adding: “It is nice to play someone the audience is willing on. Watching the first episode, I was delighted to see how many times I smiled.
“It’s great for the story that starts to unfold. And there’s no wig and no corsets, which is good.”
Speaking of her new character, Mandy, who is the victim of domestic abuse, Finneran continued: “Mandy’s vulnerable, so it was great to do that.”