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Why did Jessica Brown Findlay leave Downton Abbey?

Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil Downton Abbey

Jessica starred in the period drama for three years...

Jessica Brown Findlay is known for her role as Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey, but she exited the series after three years.

She's now starring in new BBC2 drama Harlots (opens in new tab) which starts tonight (5th August).

Why did Jessica Brown Findlay leave Downton Abbey?

Jessica's decision to leave Downton Abbey was known right from the start, according to series creator Julian Fellowes.

She was killed off in a shocking twist in series three, but this was always going to happen.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, he said, "Jessica had said she was going to leave right from the beginning. She said, ‘I'm doing three years, then I'm leaving.’ So that was all worked out."

MORE: Where was Downton Abbey filmed? (opens in new tab)

Sbyil with Branson in Downton Abbey

Lady Sybil married Tom Branson in Downton Abbey.

This enabled her to try out new roles beyond period dramas, including the sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror, where she starred in Fifteen Million Merits.

After leaving Downton Abbey, she also moved onto the big screen where she starred in Winter's Tale opposite Colin Farrell.

How did Lady Sybil die in Downton Abbey?

Lady Sybil's death shocked viewers, as she tragically died due to complications during childbirth.

Her death even shocked ice queen Violet Crawley, played by Maggie Smith, who displayed restrained grief in the scene.

The Dowager Countess was Lady Sybil's paternal grandmother, so found her death difficult.

Sybil's baby daughter survived, but she sadly passed away due to eclampsia.

She was married to Tom Branson, who chose to name the baby after his late wife.

Who does Jessica Brown Findlay play in Harlots?

Jessica Brown Findlay in Harlots BBC2

Jessica Brown Findlay as Charlotte (Image credit: BBC/Monumental/Liam Daniel)

Jessica is now starring in new BBC2 drama Harlots. She plays Charlotte Wells, the eldest daughter of Margaret (Samantha Morton).

Charlotte's character is described as being a London celebrity. She's fiery and rebellious, with a bit of a destructive streak.

What films has Jessica Brown Findlay been in?

Most recently, she starred in historical romantic drama The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society alongside Lily James.

She has also been in The Riot Club, England is Mine and Victor Frankenstein.

Jessica Brown Finlay Lily James

Jessica Brown Finlay and Lily James at the World Premiere of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

How old is Jessica Brown Findlay?

Jessica is 30 years old, and was born 14th September 1989.

She was 20 years old when she joined the cast of Downton.

Did Jessica Brown Findlay do ballet?

Yes! In fact, she trained with the National Youth Ballet and the Associates of the Royal Ballet.

When she was 15 years old, she was invited to dance with the Kirov at the Royal Opera House for a summer season.

Is Jessica Brown Findlay married?

No, Jessica isn't married.

Lucy Buglass
Lucy Buglass

Lucy joined the team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress