Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - By Deb­bie Schipp

ALLEN Leech – a. k. a Tom Bran­son – Down­ton Abbey’s ac­tivist up­start chauf­feur- turned wid­owed es­tate manager and sin­gle dad living with the elite class, says the last time he was in LA “I couldn’t get a dog to bark at me”. Fast- for­ward a decade, and it’s Jan­uary 2015, days af­ter the Golden Globes, and Leech is do­ing dou­ble- duty on the pub­lic­ity front – both for Down­ton and for fea­ture fi lm The Imi­ta­tion Game, in which he stars along­side Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch and Keira Knight­ley. Peo­ple recog­nise him on the street. The aff able Ir­ish­man is now an ac­tor in de­mand. Au­di­ences are lov­ing Down­ton Abbey – the pe­riod drama goes into its de­layed- in- Australia fi fth sea­son a world­wide hit, with fans still keen for a hefty serve of the tri­als, tribu­la­tions and in­trigue of the up­stairs elite and down­stairs peo­ple who serve them.

In sea­son fi ve, it’s the Roar­ing ’ 20s, and change is in the air. For Leech’s Bran­son it’s a new dawn.

“Tom is try­ing to fi nd out ex­actly who he is af­ter all the tur­moil,” says Leech. “He is try­ing to truly un­der­stand where he wants to be and who he wants to be. Whether he can truly be the per­son he wants to be sur­rounded by all the mem­o­ries of his past.”

Amer­ica beck­ons as a prospect, but Bran­son knows any moves to leave Down­ton will be met with op­po­si­tion by the Craw­leys – not only be­cause of their love for his daugh­ter, Syb­bie, ( their last link to their late daugh­ter), but also be­cause of a their gen­uine love for Tom, and the fact he has be­come key to the run­ning of the es­tate.

“And the thing is he does gen­uinely care for and love this fam­ily. It’s a very big de­ci­sion,” Leech says.

“It’s more about achiev­ing all he can in his life … it’s about him mak­ing sure he can do right by the fam­ily as well as right by his daugh­ter and him­self.”



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