So was Siobhan Finneran forced out of “Downton Abbey” prior to the start of season 4 production? Far from it. As a matter of fact, the latest comments coming in from the show’s executive producer seem to suggest that the exit of the vile servant O’Brien to leave the series was made entirely by the actress herself, and not by the members of production.
In a statement to “Today” on this subject, Gareth Neame (who has already been forced to say goodbye to both Dan Stevens as well as Jessica Brown Findlay) had the following to say:
“The entire decision was Siobhan’s … Her initial contract came to an end and she didn’t want to renew her contract. We certainly would all be very happy to have her back in the show.”
So why would someone choose to leave a show that is this popular and successful? This is something that we have long scratched our heads over, given that there are few better platforms out there. When it comes to Stevens and Findlay, we know that the two were hoping to have more opportunities to take on major roles in film, and thus felt limited by the show’s production time. As for Finneran, she may have had opportunities in projects that either felt fresh or gave her a more substantial role than she had with O’Brien.
The good news is that with this character, “Downton Abbey” producers are not forced to kill her off given that O’Brien could come back at any given time. Rather, they can just ship the character off to work somewhere else, and keep the door at least somewhat open in the event that Finneran wants to return down the road.
Are you still surprised that anyone would want to leave this series? If you want to hear about some of the new characters who are coming aboard the show for season 4, you can do so over here.