Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens has fuelled speculation that he will not be returning for the next series of the show after it was revealed he has not yet signed a contract for the show’s fourth run.

According to the Telegraph the 29-year-old – who plays Matthew Crawley in the show – has yet to confirm he will continue to be a part of Downton when it returns next year – amid reports that he is keen to pursue other acting projects.

And the reports the actor’s recent claims that he had no intention of staying on the hit show for longer than three years.

Dan – who was also one of the judges of this year’s Booker Prize – said of the role, “I do slightly miss the sense of an ending. We get two scripts at a time and you’re never quite sure where the story is going.

“I mean, one minute I’m in a wheelchair and then the next minute I’m out of it – there are some quite challenging twists and turns,” he added.

“If you do a play or a film, at least you know whether your character lives or dies, or who he falls in love with. But with Downton…”

Neither an ITV spokesman nor Dan’s representative would comment on the rumours.

Dan’s character has been a focal point of the current series of the show following his long-awaited wedding to Lady Mary in the first episode.

Meanwhile Sunday night’s show saw both the Granthams and their staff having to come to terms with the sudden death of Lady Sybil, whose demise shortly after giving birth left audiences shocked last Sunday.

The youngest of the Earl’s daughter succumbed to eclampsia after her daughter had been born, in a twist which had been kept under wraps prior to transmission.

However there was some good news this week after it appeared that Anna (Joanne Froggatt) finally managed to get hold of the evidence which could free her beloved Bates, played by Brendan Coyle, from jail.