(Warning: Spoilers for the current series of Downton Abbey below)

The creators of Downton Abbey have revealed a plotline in which a gay butler will try to cure himself of homosexuality.

The historical period drama, currently set in the 1920s, has in recent weeks seen underbutler Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) involved in secret experiments, and taking an unknown medication that appears to be causing him pain.

The show’s writer, Julian Fellowes, revealed in a video that the character is actually trying to ‘cure’ himself of homosexuality.

He said: “He falls for the quackery that this can be cured, that he can get rid of this dumbbell he is dragging around with him. His fortitude takes him through a period of incredible physical discomfort.”

“The result he seeks is impossible – it’s not to be obtained by any medical treatment, it was just quackery.

Rob James-Collier added: “He wants to be able to love, so he embarks on quite a dark and serious journey rooted in his sexuality to try and change how he is.

“I really wanted to get down to why Thomas was how he is. For me, I made the choice it was his sexuality.

“You wake up every morning and your religion is telling you you’re condemned.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of men like Thomas did do this, because what was the alternative? There wasn’t one.”