Ex-Coronation Street star Rob James-Collier has revealed he’s wearing a very expensive wig during the current series of Downton Abbey.

The 37-year-old star normally sports luxuriant locks as scheming under butler Thomas Barrow, but just before shooting began on the new series he landed a role as a drugs dealer in upcoming British thriller Wayland’s Song, which required him to have a skinhead cut.

He tells TV Times: “I begged Downton to let me shave my hair and they agreed – I bet they wish they hadn’t after they’d seen the price of the wig – £4,000. They even put a few grey hairs into it, which was a bit harsh!”

Rob says the wig was so convincing that guest stars didn’t notice at first.

“I’d be chatting to them for a couple of hours and then someone would adjust my hair and the star would go, ‘Oh my God, it’s a wig!'”