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Page 3 Profile: Dan Stevens, actor

Ah, the dashing heir to the Earl of Grantham

Not anymore. Downton Abbey's leading man wants to "pursue other career opportunities" in the States and is leaving the show. ITV is staying tight-lipped but a source from the show says he won't be returning for series four. He's not the first of the Downton cast to outgrow the show. Jessica Brown Findlay also had a career in the US in mind when she announced she was quitting earlier this year. Producers had to hastily write her character Lady Sybil's tragic death in response.

Is an untimely death on the cards then?

It isn't certain how the show's creators will handle Stevens' departure. But they face a challenge because his relationship with Lady Mary is central to the drama.

So when's his last episode?

Stevens' admirers will be able to see him in action during this year's Christmas special, and he may make an appearance in the first episode of season four, but that will be it.

Where does he go from here?

The heart-throb has not been short of offers on the back of his starring role in the hit series. He is currently starring in The Heiress on Broadway and was a judge on the Man Booker Prize. He will also be seen alongside Alicia Silverstone in vampire film Vamps and says he has plans to write a novel.

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