AL­BERTINA LLOYD

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Jonny Lee Miller -

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.

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