Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes Insists He ‘Had To Kill Matthew Crawley'

23 June 2013
Lia Toby/
Lia Toby/

Julian Fellowes, creator of the much loved British drama Downton Abbey admits he had no choice but to kill off Matthew Crawley. The film director revealed he found it “testing” to write Dan Stevens’ character out of the series when the actor announced he wanted to leave the show.

Fellowes explained that after Matthew and Mary’s long love affair, the only way to write him out was to end the character’s life. What made the decision difficult was the fact that Jessica Brown Findlay’s character Lady Sybil had only just been killed off a few episodes earlier, and the show's creators were reluctant to include another tragic death.

The 63-year-old screenwriter told What’s On TV, “We knew Jessica was leaving from quite a long time before and so we completely decided calmly to kill her off in the fifth episode, so that would give people three episodes to recover and then we'd have the Christmas special and everyone could move forward."

Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes Insists He ‘Had To Kill Matthew Crawley'
Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes Insists He ‘Had To Kill Matthew Crawley'

Julian Fellowes at this year's National Television Awards (Lia Toby/WENN)

"But having done that, when the news came through that Dan was also leaving we couldn't do that again, so that was a bit testing."

Executive producer Gareth Neame added, "We all agreed that the only way to break Mary and Matthew apart was for one of them to die.

“There really was no alternative."

Fellowes agreed, "We couldn't have three years of them being in love and suddenly him taking against her and nipping off to Japan.

“That wasn't a workable scenario."

Stevens previously apologised for his character’s untimely death on the Christmas episode. Will you miss Matthew when Downton returns later this year?

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