Downton Abbey star Rob James-Collier still can't believe his Tv villain Thomas Barrow is still alive - because the scheming valet was supposed to be killed off at the end of season one.

The actor was thrilled to learn he'd won the role but his agent informed him he would not have it for long.

James-Collier recalls, "He said, 'Listen, you've got the part that everyone in town wants - he's a villain, he's a great role, the only bad thing is that he dies at the end of the first series.'"

But the character took off and producers decided to rethink Barrow's fate.

He tells Out magazine, "I gave it 110 per cent, and after the first couple of episodes, Liz, the producer, came to me and said, 'We want you to stay on. Will you?' And I was like, 'F**k, yeah!'"