British actor Tom Ellis has reportedly auditioned for the role of Lady Mary's (Michelle Dockery) new Season 4 love interest, according to a report in The Mirror. Ellis, who stars in the BBC comedy "Miranda," is reportedly on the "short list" for the role, and an ITV source told The Mirror that landing him would be a "major coup." The report goes on to say that Lady Mary's new romance will be a major component of the new season, after Crawley's tragic car crash left her as a single mother.
"Downton" producers previously told the Daily Mail what they were looking for in Lady Mary's new boyfriend. "Some were too dark, some too blond, some too bland -- though a couple have been put on a shortlist that the producers and creative people will discuss. The main criteria for him is that he should be posh -- and pretty."
Ellis would be stepping in for the departing Dan Stevens, who decided to leave "Downton" after its third season.
“We were always optioned for three years,” Stevens explained. “And when that came up it was a very difficult decision. But it felt like a good time to take stock, to take a moment. From a personal point of view, I wanted a chance to do other things." Stevens just finished a run in "The Heiress" on Broadway.