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‘Downton Abbey’ update: Another actor leaves the series, plus set photos of funeral filming

Credit: ITV

Credit: ITV

Via: The Mirror

It’s curtains for O’Brien on Downton Abbey.

Siobhan Finneran, who played the devious maid, announced that she will not be returning for the show’s fourth season. “I’m not doing any more. O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being – that was great to play.”

This comes as something of a shock given Finneran’s past enthusiasm about playing the character. “I actually have great fun being sniffy to everyone. I love O’Brien the most when she’s spiteful and has a brilliant put-down. She’s a clever lady and a bad enemy to make.” She would even go on to tell Radio Times that she would love for O’Brien to find romance, saying, “O’Brien with a boyfriend would be stupendous! Who would be brave enough to take her on a date? Kevin Doyle, who plays Joseph Molesley, and I are always speculating what our characters would be like on a date – it would be hilarious.”

O’Brien has long been a key figure in Downton Abbey. Whether it’s bringing the sexuality of under-butler Thomas Barrow to light, or causing Lady Cora to miscarry what would have been the direct heir to the Earldom of Grantham, she’s a figure who, while not exactly likable, probably should have had some measure of closure on her storyline.

Luckily, closure might still be in the cards of O’Brien: while a spokeswoman for Downton confirmed that O’Brien would not be featured in the fourth season of the popular series, Finneran has left the door open for a return down the line.

Credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com

Credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com

Finneran, 47, who also stars in the popular ITV sitcom Benidorm, marks the third major cast member to leave the series in the past year, following the departure of Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) and, most controversially, Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley).

Speaking of Mr. Stevens, photos have surfaced from the set of season four. Given that this is filmed at a church/cemetery with everyone decked out in black, one can only surmise that this is the funeral for Matthew Crawley, killed in a car accident in the closing moments of the season three finale. Of course, you wouldn’t know this from the between-takes smiles of the actors…or the fact that, well, doesn’t Bates always wear black?

Credit: ITV

Credit: ITV

Oh, right.

Anyway, check out the set photos below, via Splash News Online:

Credit: Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

Credit: Splash News Online

The fourth season of the venerable period drama is gradually changing into a much different show than many fans would ever have expected. But hey, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Because, really, what isn’t made better by the addition of a black musician, a drunk guy and a ruggedly handsome, high-born gentleman with a “glass cut accent”?

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