Former Downton Abbey favourite Jessica Brown Findlay said she followed a “gut feeling” to leave the hit ITV period drama and take on fresh challenges.
The 24-year-old, from Berkshire, quit her role as Lady Sybil in Downton two years ago, but will return to television screen for the adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel Jamaica Inn - set in Cornwall - this Easter.
Brown Findlay said she had “no regrets” over leaving the ITV ratings winner as it has allowed her to take on new roles.
She said: “I kind of had a gut feeling. I had come to the end of my contract and I was so hungry to do other things.
“I had had a few jobs in between the filming of the first and second series and then I had to turn down a job I got [because I was filming] the third series, so it felt right.”
The former ballet dancer’s character was written out of Downton when she died shortly after childbirth.
But she will take on a new period role when she performs as Jamaica Inn’s protagonist, the orphan Mary Yellan, in the drama set on Cornwall’s rugged Bodmin Moor during the early 19th century.
Du Maurier's book was published in 1936 and was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1939. The tale, set at the Cornish pub that still exists to this day, is about a family of wreckers - people who tricked passing ships into steering on to rocks, then murdered the crew and plundered their goods.
Jamaica Inn begins on Easter Monday on BBC1.