Downton Abbey series 5: Allen Leech drops hints on what to expect from Tom Branson

Branson must decide 'what kind of man and father he wants to be'

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The Independent Culture

Speculation is mounting ahead of the fifth series of Downton Abbey, with producers promising “high drama, laughs and right angle moments”.

At the period drama’s press launch last Thursday, cast member Allen Leech, who plays estate manager Tom Branson dropped some hints on what viewers can expect from his intriguing character.

 “We see the blurring of these lines between the classes, and of course the first socialist government comes into power, which Branson is delighted about,” he said. “For the first time, Branson has an opportunity to see change from the inside out.”

Leech, who will soon be seen in The Imitation Game alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, revealed that the challenge for Branson this year is that he is forced to decide “not only where he sits within the class system, but what kind of man he wants to be and what kind of father he wants to be for his daughter”.


Branson’s child, Sybbie, will be played by four-year-old Fifi Hart. She is named after his wife, Lady Sybil Crawley, who died in childbirth in series three.

Schoolteacher Sarah Bunting, who Branson met at a political rally in series four, returns for the new run, prompting theories that she will tempt him back to his rebellious ways.

Video: Downton cast discusses their characters  

But Leech has put those rumours to rest. “He’s a changed man through his circumstances; he’s not as naïve as he once was despite still being strongly politically-minded,” he said.

“He was a firebrand, but he’s more educated now than he ever was before. He has completely changed his outlook; I don’t think he could possibly go back.”

Downton Abbey is set to air on ITV again this autumn, but a premiere date for the first episode has yet to be announced.