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‘Am I still gay?’

‘Downton Abbey’ actor Rob James-Collier, who initially found fame as Liam Connor in ‘Coronation Street’ says even he was confused before filming series three of the period drama if his character, footman Thomas “was still gay,” so had to ask writer and creator Julian Fellowes.

There were references to Thomas struggling with his homosexuality in series one when he made a pass at the visiting male Turkish diplomatic Mr Pamuk. However series two focussed more on the second world war and the storyline seemed to disappear.

The Sun reports Rob joked: “The gay thing comes back in this series. He stopped being gay in series two!

“I had to ring upstairs and ask Julian, ‘Am I still gay?’ I said, ‘Right, OK.’

“Seriously, in series two the drama focused on the Second World War and the huge impact it had on people back home in Britain in dealing with the dead and wounded. The gay thing was largely ignored.

“But Thomas has a beautiful storyline which evolves right through the new series and there is a massive pay-off.”

He said: “There are some emotional scenes which were very challenging.”

In the UK homosexuality was illegal until 1967, Rob says: “I hope the audience will identify with why Thomas is the way he is – he has this secret which he can’t tell anyone about because it’s illegal.

“He has this burden which he wants to share and we see that explained in a lovely storyline, thanks to Lord Fellowes.”

Rob character also hinted about his forthcoming plot which will see Thomas embroiled in a complicated loved triangle as he falls for new handsome footman, Jimmy Kent, played by Ed Speelers.

Rob revealed: “Thomas takes him under his wing and looks after him. Knowing Thomas and knowing he has a preference for a certain type of person in life, I think Jimmy fits that bill perfectly, if you know what I mean.”

‘Downton Abbey’ series 3 returns in the Autumn.