We reported recently that Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, who of course plays Matthew Crawley, would appear in only the first episode of series four – which will air in 2013 – as he’s off to America to work there…
And Jessica Brown Findlay left her role as Lady Sybil – who died during childbirth – during this year’s series in order to work on other TV and film projects.
So today, it’s been reported in the Daily Mirror that Downton Abbey’s executives are so keen to retain other key cast members that they’re doubling their salaries so as to make staying with the show a more attractive proposition.
The paper adds, “Most of the main stars, including Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Siobhan Finneran and Rob James Collier have negotiated bigger deals in the wake of a number of work offers that have flooded in as a result of the worldwide ITV hit.”
One senior ITV source said, “Because of the success of Downton, a lot of the actors have been offered amazing roles elsewhere and some have been tempted.”
But the insider added, “They are all very protective of Downton as they know how well they have done out of it.
“For many it has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. They have all been quite surprised by the way it has taken off.”
Last night, an ITV spokeswoman said, “We do not discuss the contracts of individual actors as this is personal information.”
It has of course also been rumoured that Dame Maggie Smith may leave the show and her role as the Dowager Duchess Violet, though it’s understood that if she is written out – and writer Julian Fellowes has insisted she wouldn’t be “killed off” – it will be in order to take retirement rather than to pursue other work.
Who would you be most sad to see leave of any of the cast?
Here’s a clip of Fellowes talking about the phenomenal success of his drama…