James-Collier: Downton getting deep
Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier believes his storyline helps explore the psychological issues of being gay in the 1920s, when it was still illegal.
The 36-year-old actor plays Machiavellian footman Thomas, who is secretly gay and in danger of losing his job after he tried to kiss handsome footman Jimmy Kent, who he believed had fallen for him.
Rob said it was important to put the issue "out there" and to explore how being gay when it was illegal might have affected people.
"Thomas has always been an outsider because of his sexuality, he's got this secret. There were no gay bars back then..."
He quipped: "That's in series four when he opens one!"
Rob hopes the audience will see why Thomas has always been so mean and selfish.
He said: "He's very angry towards this world which condemns him for being who he is. We've seen him in a fragile state, open, vulnerable, a man in despair, and hopefully - if I've done my job right - the audience will empathise with him.
"It helps to understand why he is how he is. You get into the psychology of this broken man. I think the scenes are quite upsetting."
:: The third series of Downton Abbey comes to an end on Sunday, November 4