The highly-anticipated third Season of PBS period drama, “Downton Abbey,” which stars Rob James-Collier, who plays Thomas Barrow, the handsome gay footman-turned valet who’s always cooking up a scheme or jockeying for a position, makes its debut in the US this Sunday, January 6th.

The servant is about to face some major drama, hinged around his sexuality — finds love and redemption.

“It’s the series where we really get to grips with Thomas’s sexuality and the impact that must have had on him, being gay in Edwardian times,” actor Rob James-Collier, who plays the valet, told Out magazine, which features the British hunk on its newest cover.

“If you’re including a gay character, there’s an onus and responsibility to at least show what the impact of the time will be on him, and of him on that time. Thankfully we’ve done that, and I’m so proud as an actor that I’ve been used to tell that tale,” he added.

Thomas’ scheming with another maid has been a highlight for viewers of the series but was originally expected to have a short run. According to James-Collier, his gay character was supposed to be killed off in the first season.

“My agent 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,’ ” the actor told ‘Out.’

So what made producers change their minds?

“I gave it 110 percent 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***, yeah,” he said.

“Downton Abbey” returns on Sunday, January 6 on PBS.

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The highly-anticipated third Season of PBS period drama, “Downton Abbey,” which stars Rob James-Collier, who plays Thomas Barrow, the handsome gay footman-turned valet who's always cooking up a scheme or jockeying for a position, makes its debut in the US this Sunday, January 6th. The servant is about to...