Downton Abbey's scheming maid Sarah O'Brien is to leave the hit period drama.

Actress Siobhan Finneran said she will not be returning to the show as the nasty screen character, who is maid to Lady Grantham.

Viewers have seen her throughout the first three series but O'Brien will not feature in the fourth series which is now being filmed.

downton

Siobhan - soon to be seen in BBC1's The Syndicate - said she enjoyed playing the part, but she would not be back.

"I'm not doing any more," she revealed. "O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being - that was great to play."

During her time in the show she has been involved in a bitter feud with under-butler Thomas Barrow, as well as causing Cora Crawley to miscarry.

A spokeswoman for Downton confirmed O'Brien would not feature in the fourth series, but it is understood the door could be left open for a return.

At Christmas viewers were shocked to see the surprise exit of actor Dan Stevens when Matthew Crawley was killed off in the show's seasonal special.

Siobhan is in the cast of the second series of The Syndicate, playing a nurse who wins millions on the lottery with her colleagues.

The programme will return on BBC1 later this month.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Downton's new footman Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Mary, Lady Sybil and Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Earl Of Grantham, Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Dinner downstairs

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mrs Hughes and O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Mr Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Tom Branson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna Bates and Thomas Barrow

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Carson and O'Brien

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Daisy

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Thomas and Daisy

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Alfred Nugent

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert and Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Robert and Carson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anthony Strallan

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith and Anthony Strallan

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Lady Edith

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna and Bates

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Bates

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Anna

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

    Shirley MacLaine as Martha Levinson

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1

  • Downton series 3 episode 1