Dan Stevens to leave ‘Downton Abbey’ in series 4?

First Lady Sybil now Matthew to leave ‘Downton Abbey’.

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Reports suggest ‘Downton Abbey‘ could be about to lose another of its main stars as Dan Stevens 30 – who plays Downton heir Matthew Crawley and husband to Lady Mary, is said to be leaving the popular period drama.

Although not confirmed by ITV, a well-placed production source told the Sunday Express: “Dan Stevens isn’t returning to the series. He will probably do the first episode of the fourth series, but that will be it.”

Money also seems to be a factor a source said: “The American network NBC, which owns the production company which makes the show, basically bankrolled the first series.

“There was talk it didn’t want to put in so much money this time. Even with all this there are still plans to do five series.”

Downton Abbey‘ returns on Christmas Day for a special episode at 9pm on ITV1, which will see the upstairs residents travel to the Scottish Highlands while the servants stay behind. A fourth 8-part series will return in Autumn 2013 in which, “Viewers can look forward to more drama, comedy, love, hatred, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, despair and romance.” Executive Producer Gareth Neame said.