Former Downton Abbey star, Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) to play Mr Darcy in new BBC Pride & Prejudice spin-off?

by Anna Howell

Whilst fans of Downton Abbey may still be in mourning over the exit of Dan Stevens from their ITV screens, it seems they may have something to look forward to as the actor is reportedly being lined up to star in a new period drama, this time on BBC.

Dan Stevens decided not to renew his Downton Abbey contract at the end of the last series, series 3, stating a desire to make it big in America as his reasons for leaving the epic ITV period drama.

However, it would seem that America will have to wait to get its hands on one of our most sought after exports, as Dan’s latest project is said to be a British spin-off of the Jane Austin classic, Pride & Prejudice, commissioned by the BBC.

Dan’s decision to leave Downton forced the hands of the production team to kill off his character, Matthew Crawley, during last year’s Christmas special, deeming it the only realistic solution for Matthew to leave the show.

This left a bitter taste in the most of some critics and fans alike who considered his death, being killed in a car crash moments after meeting his first born child, disappointing and a bit repetitive of Lady Sybil’s death earlier in the series.

The Pride & Prejudice spin-off, one of many projects Stevens has been rumoured to be setting up, is set around the novel, Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D James, which was written as a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, set six years after the original story ended, following the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

Whilst we think Dan would make a rather dashing Mr Darcy, a part played by Colin Firth in the original BBC adaptation, he does have some stiff competition when it comes to landing the part, most notably that of Les Miserables star Eddie Redmayne along with Thor star Tom Hiddleston, and Hugh Dancy – whose real-life wife, Claire Danes is one of the actresses rumoured to be being considered for the part of Mr Darcy’s wife, Elizabeth.

The spin-off’s producer David Thompson recently showed his support for Claire Danes, telling the Sunday Times newspaper: “Yes, she’s American but of course she can do British. She is also married to a Brit.”

Do you think Dan would make a great Mr Darcy, or would you be a bit miffed that after declaring his reason for leaving Downton was to swap England for America, all he managed to do was swap channels?

Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Watch an interview with Dan Stevens in the clip below:


  1. Courtney on February 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I think America will accept him, but perhaps with a bit of resentment. We love him and we loved him as Matthew, so for him to throw Matthew “under the bus” or literally whatever vehicle, is kind of a slap in the face. He should’ve been faithful to our love for him and let us welcome him with open arms in the right time. Especially considering the kind of man Matthew was in the show- it goes against his character to be so unfaithful and to murder a beloved character for his own further gain. It definitely has lessened my revere of him. No offense, it just seems selfish and it affects a lot of people. It alters all of Downton and those who love it.

  2. Courtney on February 11, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    PS. It’s not all Dan’s fault: The producers could’ve and should’ve come up with a number of different scenarios to take Matthew off the scene: business investigations, pursuit of some financial endeavor, ANYTHING! They did NOT have to kill him off with such tragedy. It’s just wrong.

  3. sjwayman on February 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    He wanted off the show – so what could they do? Send him off for a season. The filming is not that long. He could have fit it in with doing other things. I think in the end – as happens with many “flash hits” – he will end up being sorry about this. The other option is what US soap opera’s have done – just replace him – but I don’t think fans would have accepted replacing him. He will be sorry! Just wait!

  4. TJS517 on February 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    He got BAD advice and should have stayed, I mean British tv season are what like 7 epis compared to American shows. I’m sorry to say this was career suicide.

  5. Janie bee on February 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Will miss Matthew on downton since he finally accepted his father in laws money. That scenario was getting tired…. As for Claire Danes she is much too old to play Elizabeth. Claire is 34 and looks every bit of it on Homeland.

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