Rob James-Collier copied ''everything'' off Siobhan Finneran to perfect his 'Downton Abbey' role.
The 36-year-old star admits he regularly leaned on the 47-year-old actress - who quit her role as cunning maid Sarah O'Brien following the show's third series - for tips on how to play no-nonsense butler Thomas Barrow in the period drama, and he wishes she was still part of the cast.
He told BANG Showbiz: ''I copied everything off her. The stillness, the economy of movement, throwing everything away because it makes you more sinister.
''I was going to go over the top and try to be Marlon Brando but I would've ended up being Susan Dando.
''It was great to learn off her and to have that friend and ally. I still keep in touch with her but I wish she was back on the pitch with me.''
Rob also feels sorry for fans of the show who have lost their favourite character in O'Brien following Siobhan's departure from the show.
He added: ''It was her decision to leave to go and do other stuff and I think she left behind a superb character. She was a lot of people's favourite.
''Quite rightly too because she was just so enigmatic and dark so yeah the short answer is I love her and I want her to come back.''
Several other stars have departed the show including Dan Stevens, whose character Matthew Crawley was killed off in a dramatic car crash on Christmas Day (25.12.12).
John Bates, who is portrayed by Brendan Coyle, is favourite with bookmaker William Hill to be killed of next at odds of 3/1, followed by Rob's character Thomas at 5/1.
'Downton Abbey' returns for its fourth series tonight (22.09.13) at 9pm on ITV.
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