Downton Abbey sequel gives gay butler Thomas a great send-off

downton abbey a new era thomas barrow gay butler
Image: Universal

Downton Abbey’s scheming gay butler Thomas Barrow gets a hopeful ending in Downton Abbey: A New Era, the new cinematic instalment of the franchise.

The aristocratic Crawley family returns in the sequel to 2019’s first film spin-off the long-running British TV series.

Spoiler alert!

In the first film, the Crawleys were hosting King George V and Queen Mary at Downton Abbey during a chaotic royal tour of Yorkshire.

In that film, gay butler Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) also explored his sexuality. He struck up a romance with the king’s royal dresser Richard Ellis.

But while on a trip, Barrow is invited to an underground gay bar that is raided by police.

Barrow is arrested, but escapes potential imprisonment after Ellis uses his status to have him released.

In the new film, Thomas reveals that Mr Ellis has married, leaving Thomas sadly resigned to not finding personal happiness.

But a film production company arrives at Downton to make a silent film. The family begrudgingly agree to the arrangement to pay for costly repair work at the manor.

Downton Abbey gay butler Thomas Barrow’s new gay romance

During the film shoot, butler Thomas Barrow soon catches the eye of American movie star Guy Dexter (Dominic West). The pair develop a connection.

Later in the film, Guy Dexter invites Thomas Barrow to America to live as the star’s live-in companion and assistant, as he travels the world.

Guy tells Thomas the set-up can mean “as much or as little” as Barrow likes.

But Barrow decides to jump at the chance for personal happiness and leave with the actor, resigning and bidding farewell to Downton Abbey.

Actor Robert James-Collier told Digital Spy, “Hollywood comes to Downton Abbey and obviously that brings a new set of characters.

“It changes the mundane, everyday existence of what it means to be a servant. We get a bit of glamour for once and get other people to wait on us for once.”

As for the ending, Collier explained the “brilliant” storyline leaves Barrow with “a myriad of possibilities.”

“Who knows? It’s quite exciting for him,” he said.

Downton Abbey: A New Era is in Australian cinemas now.

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