'Downton' star Allen loves his role as rebellious Irishman

'DOWNTON Abbey' star Allen Leech is revelling in the role of rebellious Irish chauffeur Tom Branson in the phenomenally successful TV period drama.

The 31-year-old Dubliner has recently enjoyed an expanded role.

After marrying the Earl's daughter, Lady Sybil Crawley, Leech's character has been present in almost every episode of the latest series.

Audiences have also seen Branson become increasingly passionate about the fight for Irish independence, as well as the birth of their child and Sybil's death.

He admitted that it has been a huge challenge playing Branson.

"It's great (playing the rebel) but you also feel a lot of pressure in that you want to do it right," he told the Irish Independent.

He added: "I think Branson shows how passionate people can be in relation to their own country. It's great that this brings Ireland's history to a whole new audience as well.

"I love the fact that we've such a central role in this show and it's something I really didn't expect."

Leech was speaking at Brown Thomas on Grafton Street in Dublin yesterday where he turned out to launch the famous store's Christmas luxury hall.

The actor was joined by his parents Dave and Kay, as well as his brother Greg, his sister Ali and his two-month-old niece Isabelle.

He said that while he's "amazed" by the popularity of 'Downton Abbey' with viewers, he's optimistic that it will return for another two seasons.

Brown Thomas has been kitted out to resemble the 1920s Art Deco period for the festive season this year.

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