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Spoiler alert: Lead leaves Downton Abbey

02:00 Mon Dec 31 2012
Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey fans: Make sure you're sitting down while you read this.

Dan Stevens has confirmed that he will not be continuing on as Matthew Crawley for season four of the hit period drama.

In an interview with the UK Telegraph, the handsome 30-year-old told of how saying goodbye to the show "was a very difficult decision", though one that he made before filming his third and final season.

"It felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment," he told the Telegraph. "From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things."

Conceding that his role as Matthew was "a very monopolising job", Dan says that "there is a strange sense of liberation at the same time as great sadness. Because I am very, very fond of the show and always will be".

Shooting his final episode was "very emotional" for the British actor as he raved about "the most amazing journey" that he and his cast-mates had been on for the last three years.

"I don't think any of us, with the possible exception of Maggie [Smith], have had this kind of explosion in our career paths, and may never again," he said. "It has been so bizarre, and only those who have been through it can understand it."

The actor, who is currently pursuing a role in the Broadway show The Heiress], is looking forward to exploring new adventures and different types of roles.

"I genuinely don't know exactly what is around the corner," he mused. "But I hope it will be something a little bit different."

Relive 2012's Emmy Awards red carpet in our gallery below.

 
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