DOWNTON Abbey’s Rob James-Collier loves a bit of scandal. In the first series of Downton, viewers saw Thomas make a pass at visiting Turkish diplomat, Kemal Pamuk, who was courting Lady Mary.
James-Collier was startled, in a good way, when the outline for season three revealed his character, Thomas, was to fall for the new boy to arrive on the staff.
The series notes informed James-Collier that he’d be part of a complicated love tangle among the servants, with heartbreak and scandal on the cards.
Scheming Thomas’s suppressed homosexual feelings were aroused once again by the arrival of handsome foot- man Jimmy Kent, played by Ed Speleers.
James-Collier revealed: ‘‘ Knowing Thomas and knowing he has a preference for a certain type of person in life, I think Jimmy fits that bill perfectly, if you know what I mean.’’
Speleers says of his role: ‘‘ Jimmy is a very ambitious man. He’s a bit of a mystery man — no one really quite knows who he’s into. But as the series develops, he gets himself into a couple of sticky situations. He doesn’t know what the viewers know.’’
In the most recent Downton episode, Thomas made a pass at James in his bedroom. A horrified James pushed him away.
Carson con- fronted Thomas about the incident, reminding him he had committed a criminal offence, regardless of James’s response to the advance. As far as Carson is concerned, all that matters is that the intent was there.
Thomas, meanwhile, has admitted he made a mistake, but reasons that when a man is in his position, he has to figure out the ‘‘ signs’’ as best as he can, because no one would admit anything outright.
In the episode to air Sunday, Thomas faces ‘‘ voluntary’’ resignation, but a scheme to muddy his exit from Downton has farreaching consequences. Downton Abbey, Channel 7, Sunday, 8.30pm Scandal on the cards: Rob JamesCollier.