With sadness, it’s my unwritten obligation to alert Downton Abbey fans across Planet Earth that when series 4 begins in September in the UK and in January 2014 on PBS in the States, you won’t have the greatness of O’Brien to talk about each week. Following in the footsteps of fellow actors Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) and Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil), who both asked to leave the highly successful series after series 3, Siobhan Finneran, who played Lady Grantham’s maid, Sarah O’Brien, will not return for series 4 at her request.
“I’m not doing any more,” she revealed. “O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being – that was great to play.” Her love/hate relationship with the audience stems from her lengthy and bitter feud with under-butler Thomas Barrow, as well as causing Cora Crawley to miscarry. The most ‘love to hate’ piece of work on telly since J.R. Ewing
Finneran fans can hold out hope of the possibility of an O’Brien return to Downton but that seems unlikely at this point. In the interim, she is in the cast of the second series of BBC1’s The Syndicate, playing a nurse who wins millions on the lottery with her colleagues.
I wonder what the over/under was on the thought that O’Brien would leave Downton Abbey before Thomas the under-butler….Who knows, maybe she’s just off to India with Shrimpy given his head maid doesn’t want to leave Scotland. Hey, it could happen…and she’d be back and nastier than ever for series 5.