“Downton Abbey” brought viewers a tragic end to one of the fans’ favorite couples Sunday night (Jan. 27) when Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) died after complications with childbirth. Actor Allen Leech, who plays Sybil’s love Tom Branson, spoke with fans in an online chat about the sad turn of events.
Leech says the cast learned of Lady Sybil’s fate at the first read-through for Season 3 and everyone was distraught to learn the news — “I was in floods of tears, all of us were.”
He adds that shooting Sybil’s death scene was incredibly difficult, but also one of his favorites of the series.
“It was so challenging. As it was shot over two days, mentally and emotionally draining,” says Leech. “As an actor, the scenes from last night are up there [as my favorite]. [But] my favourite stuff you haven’t seen yet! Next ep.”
As for where Tom goes from here, the fans wonder if he has tremendous resentment towards Robert, since Tom and Cora wanted to take Sybil to the hospital, as per Dr. Clarkson’s orders.
“I think that’s one of the challenges [Tom] faces,” says Leech. “But Robert is also the reason he’s not behind bars … Tom is so unsure of everyone in the family and the only one who he truly knew and who truly knew him, he has just lost … I think as much as he would like to go home, it’s
too dangerous, but will the memory of Sybil be too much in that house? Wait and see.”
One person he does seem to have formed a bond with is Matthew, Lady Mary’s husband. After all, two men who take on the Crawley sisters have to stick together. Leech describes Tom and Matthew’s relationship as “two outsiders who form a strong friendship based on not always understanding the ways of the house.”
Off screen, the relationships between Tom and the Crawleys are even better than they are on screen. Leech tells fans that the show is like one big family. For Jessica’s last day on set, the actors had to pretend it was her birthday or it was too sad.
“It was very sad [when she left], because it was the end of her
journey on the show,” says Leech. “We had a party for her, but we had to pretend it was
“I have never been on a show that is as much of a family as
‘Downton,’ and I think the fact that we are part of something that so many
people enjoy makes us even closer,” Leech continues. “The dinner table is always fun. There are always games to be played, like wink murder. Maggie [Smith] is ace at that one.”
As far as Season 4 goes, the actor is mum on the details, but does tease: “I’ve read eps 1 and 2 already, more to come next week. We start filming in 2 weeks. Exciting.”
Will Tom be moving on? “I can’t see Tom being interested in anyone for a long time,” says Leech.