Dan Stevens Leaves Downton Abbey

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Dan Stevens Leaves <i>Downton Abbey</i>

The U.S. won’t get to see the third season of the hit British series Downton Abbey until January, but already the show is making waves across the pond. Dan Stevens, the actor who portrays Matthew Crawley, has decided against continuing with the period drama for a fourth season.

“It was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment,” Stevens said in an interview with The Telegraph. “From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things.”

Stevens is getting the chance to do just that as he stars in The Heiress on Broadway opposite Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) until February.

U.K. viewers saw Crawley’s final appearance in the Downton Abbey Christmas special that aired Tuesday. The actor said that although it’s liberating to forge ahead in his career, he’ll miss the relationships he’s developed on and off-screen with the cast, especially Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary: “After everything we have been through it will be sad not to see the relationship continue.”

Season three of Downton Abbey premieres in the U.S. Jan. 6 on PBS.

(via THR)