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'Downton Abbey' exec refuses to confirm Dan Stevens exit rumours

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Downton Abbey exec Gareth Neame has refused to confirm rumours of Dan Stevens's exit.

Rumours that the actor would be leaving the hit ITV period drama first began to circulate last month, with TVLine later claiming that "multiple sources" had confirmed Stevens's departure.

Downton Abbey, final episode, Sun 4 Nov 2012

© ITV



"There's been so much speculation about this cast," Neame told The Hollywood Reporter. "The thing with the show is, because we don't make a long run - we shoot about 11 hours of TV a year - our actors have the opportunity to go and do other work."

The executive producer refused to give a definitive answer on whether Stevens would reprise his role of Matthew Crawley full-time.

"As to which cast is coming or going, we don't comment on speculation," he said "But 95% of what I read in the papers is completely inaccurate, so that should be taken with a pinch of salt."

Downton Abbey will return to ITV1 this Christmas with a festive special. A full fourth series will then follow in autumn 2013. In the US, the third series of Downton Abbey will debut on PBS on January 6.

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Watch ITV1's Christmas 2012 trailer - featuring clips from Downton Abbey - below:

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