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Rob James Collier talks about season three of Downton Abbey

His character of Thomas will embark on secret affair with another man

Footman Thomas spent season two of Downtown Abbey dealing with aftermath of World War I but faithful fans of the ITV drama have not forgotten that the ambitious troublemaker is also gay.

Rob James Collier, the actor who plays Thomas, assures fans that his character's sexuality will once again be in the mix when the series returns for its third season next month in the UK. (The new episodes will not air in the US until January 2013).

'It’s a very emotional storyline and goes some way to explaining why he is how he is.' Collier tells The Sun. 'Being a homosexual man in Edwardian times was against God and you could go to prison for it. It’s a burden and the audience will hopefully empathize with him.'

The actor hints that his new love interest is going to be the new footman in the manor played by Ed Speleers.

'Thomas takes him under his wing and looks after him,' Collier says. 'Knowing Thomas and knowing he has a preference for a certain type of person in life, I think Jimmy fits that bill perfectly.'

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