Rob James-Collier's 'dirty dancing' with Maggie Smith
Rob James-Collier wanted to do the infamous 'Dirty Dancing' lift with Dame Maggie Smith in the 'Downton Abbey' Christmas special, but she didn't trust his upper-body strength
Rob James-Collier wanted to do the infamous 'Dirty Dancing' lift with Dame Maggie Smith in the 'Downton Abbey' Christmas special.
The 35-year-old actor - who plays scheming servant Thomas Barrow in the ITV1 period drama - has to dance alongside his co-star, who portrays aristocratic Lady Violet Crawley, at the Servants' Ball, and suggested opting for the legendary over-the-head motion synonymous with the classic 80s movie.
He told BANG Showbiz: "I suggested we do the lift from 'Dirty Dancing', but she wasn't convinced I had the upper-body strength."
However, Rob admitted missing the first 30 minutes of dance rehearsals left him a little lacking in terms of his steps, and he clumsily ended up treading on the toes of the legendary actress and receiving a "death glare".
He added: "Due to the fact I was having a 'Thomas haircut' that day, I missed the first 30 minutes of rehearsals and found that I couldn't keep up. I have two left feet and cannot waltz or indeed dance for toffee.
"I stood on her toe at one point and got the death glare, but I got through it. It was extremely nerve-racking. But we had a laugh and she was so great. I think she humoured me and my two left feet."
The former 'Coronation Street' actor - whose evil alter-ego goes to extreme lengths during the 'Downton' Christmas Special in an attempt to be promoted to the role of Earl Grantham's (Hugh Bonneville) valet - admitted while he is often "booed" by fans of the show, they get frustrated when Thomas shows his softer side.
Rob explained: "It's pantomime-esque, playful banter. I'll go into a post office and get booed and families give me a hard time in cafes. But if I show a softer side to the character, people are offended by that and I get stick for going soft."
Set over the festive period in 1919, the two-hour 'Downton Abbey' Christmas Special will be on ITV1 at 9pm on Christmas Day (25.12.11).