Former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens has been talking about the demise of his character Matthew Crawley in the series, explaining he did not have "any say" in the exit storyline.

Stevens, who had decided to leave the show, was controversially killed off in the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey.

He told Radio Times: "I am sorry about that! I think what emerged is that it's an unwritten rule that you're not supposed to die on British television on Christmas Day, and that, specifically, was not my doing.

"We didn't see that script until the very last minute, so we didn't know exactly how they were going to do it."

Stevens continued: "There was a bit of a sweepstake going on and all sorts of speculation like, would he be gored by a stag in the Highlands? Or was some masonry going to fall from a parapet and hit him on the head?

"I didn't have any say in the manner in which he went. Ultimately, it was in the hands of Julian [Fellowes, Downton Abbey creator] and the producers."

Stevens added: "It was right that he didn't run off and have an affair with somebody. I don't think that would have been right for Matthew as a character."

Stevens' new film, the romantic drama Summer in February, opens in Irish cinemas on June 14.

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