Allen Leech has hinted that Tom Branson will leave Downton Abbey this Christmas.
The Irish actor, who plays Lady Sibyl’s widower and Downton's estate manager, said that if he did leave his character would be likely to make a return.
It is thought that producers would not want to kill him off after facing criticism from fans when Matthew Crawley died in a road accident on Christmas Day in 2012.
The actor’s character Branson has faced a moral decision about whether to stay at Downton due to the Grantham family’s right wing views and opposition to change.
“Tom is making a decision on whether he is going to stay or not and you’ll all know on Christmas Day in the UK,” Leech said.
“I think if he does leave, Tom will be leaving under his own steam and he won’t be dead so it doesn’t mean he’s leaving forever.”
Leech, who currently stars alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, said he has been offered other work beyond Downton Abbey.
“There’s a play that I really want to do in the West End so looking to get that going and hopefully within a window of another job that I might do,” he told The Mirror.
“People are kind of interested in me as an actor so I feel very lucky about that.”
The Downton Abbey Christmas special, which has been filmed at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, is set to feature Matthew Goode as a star guest.
George Clooney will make an appearance in the drama as part of ITV’s festival fundraiser Text Santa, but will not star in the Christmas episode.