Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier has revealed his character, cold-hearted valet Thomas, is to fall for the new boy who arrives on the staff.
It will be part of a complicated love tangle among the servants in the new series of ITV1’s hit period drama, with heartbreak and scandal on the cards.
Scheming Thomas’s suppressed homosexual feelings are aroused once again by the arrival of handsome new footman Jimmy Kent, played by Ed Speleers.
Rob revealed: “Thomas takes him under his wing and looks after him. 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.”
In the first series viewers saw Thomas make a pass at visiting Turkish diplomat, Kemal Pamuk, who was courting Lady Mary.
Speleers said of his new role: “Jimmy is a very ambitious man. He’s vying for the position of first footman. He comes into it as 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 actually realises that in order to succeed he’s got to keep in with Thomas, because Thomas is directly above him and a valet is what Jimmy aspires to be. He doesn’t know what the viewers know – and have known for the last two series.”
Flirty new scullery maid Ivy (Cara Theobold) takes a shine to Jimmy and is also being pursued by another new footman Alfred (Matt Milne).
Meanwhile, poor maid Daisy, played by Sophie McShera, who was left a war widow at the end of the last episode, falls head-over-heels for Alfred, who only has eyes for Ivy.
The highly-anticipated third series of the hit show begins on ITV1 in the autumn.