Find out which member of the Downton Abbey team was forced to hire extra security following a controversial storyline...
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has revealed that he felt forced to hire a bodyguard for protection after he killed off much-loved character Matthew Crawley in Series Three.
We all remember the tear-jerking moment when Lady Mary’s true love met his untimely death in the special Christmas Day episode, which saw Crawley being tragically killed in a motoring accident as he drove to share the news of his newborn baby.
Within moments of the episode being broadcast, thousands of distressed viewers took to social networking sites and forums to complain about the heartbreaking festive special.
The loss of one of the show’s much-adored (not to mention incredibly handsome) characters left many labeling the show a ‘travesty’ and an ‘outrage’, with some fans claiming the shocking season finale had ‘ruined their Christmas’.
So it’s no surprise that creator Julian has now admitted the need for a little extra security following what most presumed to be his own controversial Downton decision…
Speaking on US TV, Fellowes admitted: ‘I was afraid to go out without bodyguards. I was very interested by that. People didn’t understand that we’re not in control of that kind of stuff, if an actor wants to leave the show.’
It was later revealed that actor Dan Stevens had actually chosen to leave the hit period drama, resulting in a need to kill off his floppy-haired character Matthew.
‘I love Dan’, Julian continued. ‘I wish him nothing but good things. But he felt he’d done his three years, and that was the end of that, and he wanted to go on. Of course we couldn’t suddenly make him unhappy and hating Mary and never wanting to see his son again. It just wasn’t believable.’
‘So I’m afraid it was looking bad for him. But [the response] was extraordinary. We did get an absolute barrage of criticism for that.’
And the decision-dividing storylines haven’t ended there – the Oscar winner also felt the need to defend the recent plot twist which saw Anna Bates being violently attacked by a guest’s valet after the complaints flew in.
Fellowes justified the shocking scene by insisting that the ITV period drama was ‘not offensive’ but was ‘complicated and intelligent and involving’. Let the Downton drama continue…