Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens getting too big for his britches; may quit show to pursue career in U.S.

According to reports, Dan Stevens - aka Cousin Matthew - has refused to sign on for a fourth series of Downton Abbey and is swapping stately homes for Manhattan's streets as he prepares to star in a Broadway show.

‘New York for me is going to be one big adventure. I will be taking the whole family out and we will be there for six months. I don’t know if I will be returning to Downton,' Stevens has said.

Reports that Stevens, 29, might not return to Downton for a fourth series first surfaced in March along with rumours that Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham, would not be signing on for another season.

Stevens' role in Downton Abbey as Cousin Matthew Crawley has been pivotal in series three, which began with Matthew's wedding to Mary and has seen Stevens' character rescue Downton from financial ruin and start to take the initiative on running the ill-managed Downton estate.

In August, award-winning Downton creator Julian Fellowes confirmed that he is planning a fourth season of the show, saying:

'I am sure there will be a fourth series, yes, although it hasn’t yet been confirmed officially.'

Don't do it, Dan