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Thursday 2 October 2014

Dubliner Allen reveals how being in 'Downton' helps him cut a dash

Published 22/03/2014 | 02:30

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Allen Leech and Jessica Brown Findlay in ‘Downton’

'DOWNTON ABBEY' heart throb Allen Leech has revealed that the hugely popular period drama has refined his sense of style.

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The Dubliner loves design and admitted that he might have gone into architecture, graphic design or fashion if he hadn't become an actor. Women all around the world are grateful that he took the thespian route.

Allen cuts a dash in his role of Tom Branson, the upwardly mobile chauffeur who married Lady Sybil and found himself part of the Crawley family – whose lives in the turbulent 1920s are now being chronicled in the fifth season of 'Downton Abbey'.

The TCD drama graduate went in for three episodes, but 'Downton' writer Julian Fellowes has a tendency "to pick up on story lines that he thinks people will gravitate towards".

"Tom is that character that people love in the story, because he crosses the class divide and he's the man who gets the girl," said Leech.

Cutting a cool figure at the CRY charity lunch, Leech added: "Of course I can tell you everything that's going to happen on series five of 'Downton Abbey', but I'm going to have to shoot you directly after telling you."

Leech, who lives in Islington in North London and shares a house with four other Irishmen, concedes that "for Tom, there's a certain political fire that was dampened by the death of his wife – and you might see that come back".

Leech's trademark Eton round-collared shirt attracted lots of admiring looks, and he certainly has picked up a fondness for vintage styling working on Downton.

"I've always been into fashion and I remember, when we started shooting the series, I thought it would be really cool if the round collars came back in fashion.

"Lo and behold, a year later, they were.

"What I think should come back are the detachable collars such as the Windsor or winged collar – because with one shirt, you have a few options."

Accompanied by his mother Kay, Leech was guest of honour yesterday at the CRY lunch, a charity close to his heart because it was set up in memory of his late school pal Peter Greene.

Peter died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome at age 16, the day he completed his Junior Cert.

The boys were pupils together at St Michaels in Ballsbridge and to this day Leech says "anytime I walk out on stage, before I go out, I always look up and ask Peter to give me a hand."

CRY was set up by Peter's parents in 1995 to raise awareness of conditions that can lead to young sudden cardiac death.

The sell-out lunch in the Shelbourne yesterday, MC'd by Brendan Courtney, included an Arnotts fashion show.

Irish Independent

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