Michelle Dockery: Dan's Downton departure was 'shocking'

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Downton's Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery

Despite being aware Dan Stevens was departing 'Downton Abbey', Michelle Dockery insists she was "really shocked" at the way his alter-ego was killed off when he died in a car crash on Christmas Day (25.12.12).

Michelle Dockery was "really shocked" when Dan Stevens' 'Downton Abbey' character was "brutally" killed off.

The 31-year-old actress - who plays Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV period drama - was surprised to see her on-screen husband Matthew Crawley get killed in a car crash on Christmas Day (25.12.12), even though she was aware the actor was bowing out of the programme.

She said: "I was watching it with my family. I knew it was coming, and I hadn't told them. They knew that Dan was leaving. It had got out that he was going. But they were really shocked. And so was I.

"The way it was filmed, it all happened so quickly. It really shocked people and wasn't what they were expecting on Christmas Day."

While Michelle misses working with Dan, she admits his departure has enabled creator Julian Fellowes to write a "great storyline" for the upcoming fourth season.

Speaking to TV Line, she added: "We had all signed for three years on the show. So when it came to the point of them deciding to take the show further, we all had a choice.

"Initially, I was sad to hear that he was leaving. But looking back, in hindsight, what it's done is opened up an opportunity for the writing to really shift and for Julian to write such a great storyline for season four - and not just for Mary.

"Matthew's death affects so many other characters. We miss him. I spent three years with Dan, carrying that Matthew-and-Mary storyline. I really loved working with him. So he is missed."

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