‘Downton Abbey’s’ Dan Stevens Sorry for Ruining Christmas

"Downton Abbey": Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley (Photo: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE)

Former “Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens has apologized (sort of) for devastating “Downton” fans on Christmas Day, but he contends that killing off his popular character was not his doing.

Millions of viewers were shocked, crushed and enraged when Matthew Crawley was killed off in dramatic fashion in an automobile accident — just after visiting his wife Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and their newborn baby in the hospital — on the Season 3 finale. Adding to the blow: The controversial episode aired in the U.K. on Christmas Day.

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“I am sorry about that!” Stevens told the Radio Times. “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.”

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It’s still his fault for leaving the hit British period drama, right? But as for how his character bowed out, that was up to series creator Julian Fellowes and the producers, Stevens reminds us.

"I didn't have any say in the manner in which he went. Ultimately, it was in the hands of Julian and the producers," he said. However, Stevens thinks killing off his character was a better way to go than just having him disappear voluntarily somehow.

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

Stevens also still believes it was the right move for him as an actor, despite disappointing the legion of "Downton" fans. He recently completed a brief run on Broadway in "The Heiress." He's currently filming "A Walk Among the Tombstones" with Liam Neeson and also appears in a new film out later this month called "Summer in February," while his movie "The Fifth Estate" is due out this fall.

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