'Downton Abbey' duo hits Joburg
Cast members of the award-winning, quintessentially British drama production Downton Abbey are visiting South Africa.
Rob James-Collier (who plays the villainous Thomas Barrow) and Sophie McShera (the naive Daisy Mason) are on a BBC tour promoting the third season of DowntonAbbey, due on our screens early next year.
While the lively duo looked forward to cage-diving with sharks and visiting Robben Island, they took time out in Johannesburg yesterday to talk about their characters.
James-Collier's cruel, cold and calculating Thomas Barrow, the secretly gay footman, is just misunderstood, said the actor.
"He is how he is because of his sexuality," said James-Collier.
The series is set in the post-Edwardian era, when homosexual intercourse was a crime.
"He has this cross to bear and no one to confide in," said James-Collier. "He's happy with who he is - but no one else is."
The actor did not deny that his character is a dirty scoundrel.
"I absolutely love playing Thomas," he said. "He's certainly a very complex guy."
Taking advice from Thomas in season three, McShera's Daisy, the sweet yet simple-minded kitchen maid, becomes an "angry young woman".
"Daisy finds her inner bitch," said McShera, adding that her character even goes on strike.
"She totally throws her tea towel down and refuses to dry stuff."