Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has told how he feared going out without a bodyguard after he killed off Matthew Crawley in the show.
The 64-year-old writer admitted he was surprised by the strong reaction to Matthew's death in a car crash at the end of the last series. But Julian insisted he had to kill off Matthew after actor Dan Stevens quit the show.
He told a US TV show: "I was afraid to go out without bodyguards. I was very interested by that. People didn't understand that we're not in control of that kind of stuff, if an actor wants to leave the show.
"I love Dan. I wish him nothing but good things. But he felt he'd done his three years, and that was the end of that, and he wanted to go on.
"Of course we couldn't suddenly make him unhappy and hating Mary and never wanting to see his son again. It just wasn't believable.
"So I'm afraid it was looking bad for him. But that was extraordinary.
"We did get an absolute barrage of criticism for that. It's calmed down a bit now, actually, but I don't know. What I'm always rather touched by is the way these people become real to the audience."
The actor turned writer also defended the recent controversial storyline in which lady's maid Anna Bates was raped by a visiting valet.
Julian said the period drama's portrayal of the events were "not offensive" but "complicated and intelligent and involving".