Over past six or seven months, “Downton Abbey” fans have unleashed a massive ugly-cry over the loss of Dan Stevens’ Matthew Crawley. While it may not have been intentional by any means, the loss of one actor does inevitably end up benefiting another. For ITV and the show’s cast, this is going to be none other than Allen Leech’s character of Tom Branson.
If you look at the character’s situation, it’s an interesting one. He’s a downstairs man living in an upstairs world, and his primary connection to this world (in Sybil) is now dead. So how does he move forward? Does he start hanging around with the servants again? It doesn’t sound like it, at least based on what executive producer Gareth Neame said in a chat with TVLine:
“He becomes a bigger and bigger character within the dynamic of the show. He is almost Robert’s right-hand man now. So he has a lot to do in the new season.”
When it comes to whether or not Neame feels like Leech is taking the place of Matthew in some ways, Neame’s response was in some ways yes, but in other ways no given that the two are rather different people:
“I don’t think in a direct way like that, but he definitely is one of the leads. Things work out with him, both professionally and personally. We will want to see him show an interest in a new partner at some point. I don’t know when, but…”
Does this mean that Leech will get an opportunity to actually submit himself as a lead at the Emmys this coming year? That is the true test. (Strangely, he was not on the official list of submissions, but neither were Brendan Coyle or Stevens himself.)
In case you missed it, Stevens has also been in the headlines for some of his own “Downton Abbey” comments, but more so on the subject of whether or not he imagines there to be some more shockers coming up.