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Robert James-Collier reveals emotional reaction to gay storyline in Downton film

He plays Thomas Barrow in the series and subsequent movie.


Robert James-Collier (Ian West/PA)

Robert James-Collier (Ian West/PA)

Robert James-Collier (Ian West/PA)

Downton Abbey star Robert James-Collier has spoken of how proud he was when he learned about his storyline in the upcoming film of the hit ITV drama.

The former Coronation Street star, who reprises his role of gay valet-turned-butler Thomas Barrow for the big screen outing, said his plot line shows what is was like for a man to be homosexual in the 1920s.

He told the PA news agency: “It’s a like a separate film so what a lovely thing, Thomas has got this little vignette off on the side.

“When all the pomp and circumstance with the royal visit is going on (the main plot line of the film), you cut to Thomas’s story so I’m like ‘Thank you Julian (Fellowes, the writer) for trusting me that I can do this’.

“You see Thomas discover a whole new world, and that is closer to who he is and there is a joy there, but then that joy may get taken away but it’s a very emotional, Thomas’s journey.”

He added: “It also hammers home what it was like to be a gay man in those times, it was horrific and it’s brought back and it just shows how different it was.

“It must have been so hard for him and that is why the people warm to him and root for Thomas now, and they certainly will in the film if you watch it.”

Downton Abbey is released in UK cinemas on September 13.