| Tom Branson |
|Born||In or Before May 1890|
|Marital status||Widower of Lady Sybil Branson née Crawley|
|Residence|| Downton Abbey, Downton, Yorkshire |
|Family|| Mrs. Branson (mother) |
Mr. Branson (father)
|Occupation|| Chauffeur (formerly) |
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Allen Leech|
Tom Branson (born in or before May 1890) is an Irish Republican, the husband and widower of Lady Sybil Branson née Crawley, son-in-law of Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham and Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, brother-in-law of Lady Mary Crawley née Crawley, Lady Edith Crawley and the late Matthew Crawley, father of Sybil Branson, and he is also related to the Branson family.
Hired to be the Crawley family chauffeur, he inspires Lady Sybil Crawley to get involved in political causes, and over time they develop a romantic relationship, later marrying, despite the reservations of her family, and living in Dublin, Ireland where Tom gets a job as a journalist. By Christmas 1919, they are expecting their first child and in 1920 return to Downton to visit the Crawley family and attend Mary's wedding. Months later, Tom unexpectedly arrives at Downton after fleeing Ireland without Sybil, leaving her to arrive the following day. Due to the trouble he is in, Tom has been forbidden from returning to Ireland, so he and his wife begin living at Downton. Sybil later gives birth to their first and only child and daughter, but dies shortly afterwards of eclampsia with Tom and her family at her side, leaving Tom, the Crawley family and their staff shocked and heartbroken. Tom names his daughter after his late wife.
Little is known about Branson's early life, except that he was born in or before May 1890 and grew up in Ireland with his parents and brother. He appears to be well-read and loves reading. In May 1913, at the age of 23, he moved to Yorkshire in order to work at Downton as the chauffeur, replacing Taylor, who left to open a tea shop. He tells Robert that he will not miss his previous job but will miss Ireland.
Branson’s main interests are history and politics, something which amuses Robert at first but leads to regret when Branson influences his youngest daughter, Sybil to rebel. Branson believes that Sybil is in love with him, but that she is too scared to admit it. He is very persistent and blunt; Sybil tells Mary that he is frightfully full of himself. Branson knows what he wants and will wait for however long it takes to get her.
Branson has a good heart and is deeply saddened when he hears that the Tsar’s family have all been shot, but he believes in progress and thinks that sometimes the future needs terrible sacrifices in order to get better. Branson does not appear to have made any close friends at Downton, although he seems to have a cordial relationship with most of the staff, many of whom seem unsure about how to treat him after his change in status though some treat him with respect. He takes great pride in his Irish heritage and his Catholic faith.
Tom Branson arrives at Downton and immediately becomes curious about Lord Grantham’s youngest daughter, Lady Sybil, when he overhears her mother, Cora Crawley, talking about her needing a new dress and implying that she has an interest in rights for women. Branson is very political, and once he discovered that Sybil is too, he sets out to increase her interest.
Later, when Branson is driving Sybil to get the new dress fitted, he asks her if she will get her own way in its design. She seems taken aback by the familiarity of his address but engages in the conversation. He takes the opportunity to give her some pamphlets about the vote for women that he thought might interest her. Sybil requests that he not tell her father or grandmother, as they disapprove of reform.
- Sybil: "It seems rather unlikely: a revolutionary chauffeur."
- Branson: "I'm a socialist, not a revolutionary and I won't always be a chauffeur."
- — Sybil and Branson discuss political ideologies.[src]
After this conversation, Sybil chooses a pair of Harem pants instead of a traditional post-Edwardian dress, obviously in an attempt to express her beliefs in equality. Lady Sybil is later shown to be trying on her latest purchase to wear to dinner with her family, whom are all waiting impatiently for her. She makes her entrance and receives mixed reactions from her relatives. Branson appears at the window and watches Sybil as she shows off her new outfit and he smiles in admiration.
By May 1914, Sybil seems to have become more involved with politics. Since there are no politically enthusiastic members of her family with whom she could talk openly, she turns to Branson. Sybil watches the liberal candidate at a political rally with excitement, managing to ignore the commotion around her. Branson forces his way through the crowd so as to protect her from the violence and Isobel Crawley convinces her to go before anything bad happens. Branson roughly pushes people out of her ladyship’s way and helps her into the car.
- Sybil: "I hope you do go into politics; it's a fine ambition."
- Branson: "Ambition or dream?"
- — Sybil and Branson in 1914.[src]
Branson tells her it is not just women's rights and Irish freedom, but chiefly the gap between the aristocracy and the poor he would want to change if he did go into politics. Knowing Lord Grantham is a member of this "oppressive class" and not wanting to offend her, he hastily makes amends by saying of her father, 'he's a good man and a decent employer'.
When John Bates accidentally informs his Lordship of Lady Sybil’s involvement in the political rally with Branson, Robert Crawley is furious and confronts Sybil at the dining table. During a conversation with Mr. Bates and Anna, Branson shows his admiration of Sybil by saying that Lord Grantham "ought to be glad he's got a daughter who cares."
Later in the episode Sybil tricks both Lord Grantham and Branson into thinking that she will be going to a meeting with the committee in Ripon, when she really intends to go to the counting of the vote. When Branson and Sybil arrive she admits that there is no meeting. Worried, he tries to convince her not to go, but she is determined and proceeds.
Political anarchists arrive in order to pick fights with Tories, but lucky for Branson who is finding it hard to get Sybil to leave, Matthew Crawley decides to investigate the riot, but while too telling Sybil to leave he is targeted and punched. In this fight, Sybil is thrown sideways and hits her head on a table, knocking her out. Matthew and Branson rush to her and find her head is bleeding, Branson lifts her up and carries her away through the crowd.
Branson drives them to Crawley House and rushes to fetch Mary Crawley. Mary and Matthew cannot understand why Branson would take Sybil to the counting of the vote and are certain he will lose his job as a result. Sybil tell them that Branson had no part in it, as he didn't know where she was really going. Mary tells her that she will have to stick up for him because Lord Grantham will "skin him alive".
Mary says that Sybil will be fine and Branson is noticeably relieved. He seems to blame himself and asks her to let him know how she gets on. When Lord Grantham blames Branson for Sybil’s misbehavior and threatens to fire him, she defends him. Saying that she will run away if Branson is missing in the morning, Lord Grantham backs down at this and Branson is allowed to stay.
In August 1914 Gwen finally receives a job offer to become a secretary. No one will dare answer the new telephone, ringing with the good news, except Branson, shortly after doing so he rushes out to find Lady Sybil, who is entertaining guests at the garden party. They rush over to celebrate with Gwen but are interrupted by Mrs. Hughes.
It is at this point that Branson and Sybil can be seen to be holding hands. Allen Leech who portrays Branson explains why this is so significant: “There was a slight gesture where they held hands, and that was huge for Branson. At that time, physical contact was not allowed between people upstairs and the staff. In fact, Mrs. Hughes warned him "you'll be left with no job and a broken heart." But Branson is so headstrong, that's not much of an issue for him. Shortly after this encounter Lord Grantham receives news of Britain being at war with Germany.
It's November 1916 and Branson is still at Downton, it would appear like not much has changed in his life, as his love for Sybil is again confirmed when he attentively watches her baking with Mrs. Patmore and Daisy. Sybil wants to do more than just sit at home waiting for the war to finish so she decides to become a nurse, but before that she want to learn some basic skills, like cooking. It is things like this that Branson has always admired as it shows her spirit and determination.
Branson decides he has one chance, before she leaves to train as a nurse, to tell her how he feels. He asks her to bet on him, determined that he will make something of himself. He knows that she is too far above him, but believes that the world is changing as a result of the war and if her family did disown her, they would come around, but until then he would devote every waking minute to her happiness.
Sybil hesitates and replies that she is flattered, knowing that this is not the answer he was hoping for, Branson tells her that 'flattered' is a word posh people use when they are about to say 'no'. Laughing, she says that that sounds more like something he would say. Lord Grantham would certainly fire Branson had he known about this inappropriate conversation, but Sybil promises not to say anything to her family. Although Branson is visibly discouraged by this rejection, he is touched that she would not reveal his admission of feelings for her to her family, granting it would be hard for her to forget about being a nurse and her family even if she reciprocated his feelings.
In April 1917, Sybil is a fully trained nurse and she feels useful for the first time in her life. The things she has seen makes her realize that she could never go back to the way she had lived before the war. When telling Branson this he gains hope that she may be with him eventually, despite her rejection of him, he is as in love with her as ever.
A few months later, Branson has been called up by the war office, Sybil rushes to see him, not wanting him to go, but, being Irish, he does not intend to fight for the British Army, instead he plans on being a conscientious objector. She tells him that he will go to prison if he publicly speaks out against the war, but he doesn't care if he does have a record for the rest of his life, saying that at least he will have a life.
When Branson finds out he has been rejected by the army because of a heart murmur, Sybil is initially worried for him, but he says it is only dangerous if you want to humiliate the British Army. She is glad that he isn't going to be killed or to go to prison, but wonders why he has to be angry all the time, saying that she knows Britain wasn't at it's best in Ireland during the Easter Rising in 1916. This is the first time Branson has been seen to be moved negatively by something Sybil has said. He tells her that during the Easter Rising one of his cousins was walking up North King Street in Dublin and an English officer shot him dead on the assumption that he was "probably a rebel". She says she didn't know and he drives away upset.
Branson thinks of another way to get back at the army by offering to be a footman and serve at a dinner party at which an important army general is a guest. Branson writes Sybil a note asking her to forgive him for what he did to the general and puts it in some of her washing to be taken to her room. Anna finds this note and runs to tell Mrs Hughes, believing Branson to be about to assassinate the general. Together they find Mr. Carson and stop Branson before he had chance to act. Branson contemplates making a scene anyway, but looks over his shoulder to Sybil and decides to leave quietly with Mr Carson. As it turns out, Branson was not planning to kill the general, but to pour a mixture of oil, ink, cow pat, and sour milk over his head. In the kitchen, the staff decide not to get the police involved, as news of the attempt would bring similar embarrassing attention to the British military as if it had been successful. Mr Carson lets Branson off, with the promise that he'll not do anything like it again.
It is 1918 and Sybil is talking to Branson outside the garage, questioning why he promised Mr. Carson not to take part in any more political protests when he wouldn't promise her. She doesn't understand how he can be contented with tinkering with a car all day. He tells her that she is the reason he won't leave Downton and states that she feels the same way towards him but is too scared to admit it, but Sybil tells him to not be ridiculous. Unaware of Mary Crawley's presence he continues to try and convince her to run away with him. Luckily they are out of earshot, but Mary has been made aware by Violet Crawley that Sybil may have a inappropriate beau she has had to keep secret. Seeing the two of them conversing alerts Mary to what is going on. Mary questions Sybil about what she was talking to the chauffeur about if not requesting him to drive her somewhere. Sybil becomes defensive, abruptly stating that he is a person and can talk about other things, but according to Mary, he can't with someone of Sybil's status.
At dinner, Sybil is given advice by Violet about how to handle inappropriate relations formed during war time, unaware of the validity of her words. Sybil believes Mary has told her about Branson, but is later corrected. Sybil tells Mary everything, that Branson loves her and wants to run away with her. Mary is horrified but she promises not to tell anyone or get Branson fired, as long as Sybil doesn't do anything stupid. Sybil convinces Mary not to tell their father by saying that she does not think she returns Branson's feelings and by promising to do what Mary asks.
Sybil finds Branson in order to tell him that Mary knows about them. At first he is worried that he will be made to leave without a reference, but is cheered by Sybil's address of the two of them as 'us'. Branson tries to convince her that she loves him, otherwise she would have told her family about his feelings and intentions years ago. In turn, Sybil challenges his assumption that she must love him just because she has not given him away. This meeting turns into an argument, Sybil has thought about the the consequences of running away with him, asking if she will be accepted by his people and how she could ever leave her family, she hopes that she is a free spirit like he says, but he is asking her to leave behind everything she has ever known. A moment of despair results in Branson belittling Sybil's work serving tea to a bunch of randy officers. According to Allen Leech Branson later apologizes to Sybil but the scene was cut. Branson finally tells her that nothing else matters but the two of them: "Look, it comes down to whether or not you love me. That’s all. That’s it. The rest is detail."
Sybil wants to be with Mary Crawley at the hospital when they bring in the injured Matthew Crawley, Branson asked her if Mary was still in love with Matthew, to which Sybil says she doesn't want to talk about it as Mary is her sister. Branson believes it is because he is the chauffeur, therefore not someone a Lady may talk openly with, but is corrected. Still frustrated with not yet having a direct answer from Sybil to whether or not she loves him, Branson uses the opportunity to tell her off about how the people of her class are very good at hiding their feelings, much better that the people of his are, she tells him not to make the mistake of thinking that they don't have feelings, because they do.
The news has been received, the Tzar and his family have all been shot dead, Branson is saddened by it, admitting that he didn't think they would. He reassures himself by saying that maybe the future needs terrible sacrifices. This leads to a conversation about Sybil's politics, during the war the suffragette movement was put on hold out of respect for England and for the men off fighting. Much to Sybil's annoyance Branson suggests that she has given up on her cause and should have stuck it out. Sybil tries to leave but he stops her by the waist, she stops abruptly, resulting in a moment of stunned silence. Knowing that this was not the done thing, he removes his hand hastily away. Not meaning their politics anymore he says her future is up to her. She hesitates for a moment, looking between his eyes and lips and leaning in as if to kiss him, but abruptly pulls back and turns to leave. Branson is left standing alone, watching her go.
Sybil enters the garage and light-heartedly tells Branson that she wishes she knew how an engine works. He smiles and tells her that he is willing to teach her, but she shyly smiles and shrugs before saying that Edith is more cut out for such lessons. His smile fading, Branson turns away from her and says that he thought she had been avoiding him. She quickly moves to where he is now standing and firmly denies that she has been avoiding him. Nevertheless, she affirms his suspicion that she has yet to decide whether to run away with him. Taking a deep breath, she tells him that she knows he wants to get involved in the fight for Ireland's independence, but that she cannot give his proposition adequate consideration until the war is over. She then asks him to wait until then -- "just a few more weeks" -- for the answer. Branson responds, "I'd wait forever."
It is 1919 and Sybil is bored. Bored of her life now that she is back in the same old routine that she was stuck in before the war. The war has changed her irrevocably and she knows it, she cannot and will not return to her mundane existence of waiting around for a suitable bachelor, whom her parents approve of, to stumble her way. But she still doesn’t have an answer for Branson, which disappoints him, but her affections for him are increasingly showing as she reaches up to touch his cheek.
She wants to escape from that house and from that life and knows that there is only one way, she tells Edith that she has a plan but when asked if it is drastic she cannot deny that she will be able to turn back once she has done it, but she doesn’t seem to care. When Matthew and Lavinia announce that their engagement is back on and that they are going to get married at Downton, Sybil realizes that the war is well and truly over and it is time for her to move on. Branson has waited so long for her to say those words that he cannot believe he is finally hearing them, she tells him he can kiss her, but that is all until everything is settled, that doesn’t matter to him as it is enough that he could kiss her.
Sybil is apparently ill and therefore will not be dining with the rest of her family; little do they know that she and Branson are on their way to Gretna Green to get married. Mary grows suspicious when Sybil does not answer from inside her locked bedroom door. Upon entering she finds a letter addressed ‘To My Family’, which explains everything. Getting Edith to drive, Mary and Anna set off in search of them, with the idea that they won’t be too far away, possibly staying in a local inn. Anna spots their car and they charge into a room where Sybil is lying in the bed and Branson is in the chair. To Mary’s relief nothing has happened, Sybil doesn’t understand exactly what she means by this, but tells her that she is going to marry Tom regardless of what they say. Edith and Mary appeal to Sybil’s dislike of deceit by saying that their parents don’t deserve this kind of treatment, Tom tells her to go with them, if she thinks they will make her happier that he will. She decides to try to gain her parent’s forgiveness instead of sneaking away like a thief in the night. Before departing she tells him she will stay true to him and kiss him, he closes the door behind them.
Still trying to convince Sybil to see sense, Mary and Edith are horrified to hear she has invited Tom over in order to tell the rest of the family that evening about their plans. Tom is now a journalist, which will hopefully, according to Sybil, sound better than chauffeur to Violet, but nevertheless they are all stunned. Robert orders them to break it off, but neither of them waver in their love and determination. The next day after his and Sybil's announcement, Tom arrives at the Servants Hall. Anna, who already knows about him and Sybil, speaks to him, knowing that it wasn't easy for them. Daisy briefly over hears Anna and him talking, at which point Tom informs his former co-workers he and Lady Sybil are getting married, much to their shock, and to Mr. Carson's dismay. When Mr Carson angrily asks him if he has no shame, Branson replies he is a good man and that he himself has no shame and "I have great pride in the love of that young woman [Sybil] and I will strive to be worthy of it." He informs them he is staying at the Grantham Arms until Matthew and Lavinia are married and Sybil is ready to leave for Dublin then leaves the Servant Hall, bidding them all a good day. Later, her father and her grandmother both try to talk Sybil out of her plans, but Sybil explains that she couldn't care less what the aristocratic world will think of her and she vows to her father and grandmother that She will not give Tom up. Robert then warns her that there will be no more money, and that her life will be very different if she stays with Tom, but this is exactly what Sybil wants. Robert then went to see Tom at Granthan Arms and tried to bribe him into leaving Downton without Sybil, but is swiftly rejected.
Branson attended Lavinia's funeral in order to pay his respects and to see Sybil. After realizing that there is nothing he can do to stop them, Robert agrees to part as friends, giving them his blessing and says he will give them some money. Giving Tom a friendly warning of the consequences of mistreating his daughter, Tom tells him he would expect no less. They shake hands then Tom and Sybil walk away hand-in-hand. Violet rejoins Robert asking him if he has finally given in. Like many aristocratic generations before them, they plan to minimize the scandal of the Lady and the Chauffeur by giving Tom a made up back story.
Tom and Sybil are mentioned of being married - something which happened between April and December 1919 - and they are now living in Ireland; only Sybil's sisters Mary and Edith attended his and Sybil's wedding day, as Cora was unable to attend - as she had not fully recovered from the Spanish Flu - and Robert and Violet chose not to attend feigning illness. Robert later gives Cora a letter from Sybil, to Cora, who gasps in delight with the news that she and Tom are expecting their first baby. Sybil doesn't want anyone to know, not even her sisters about her pregnancy, although the reason is unknown. Robert then comments that he "wondered why she didn't ask to come for Christmas." After the servants ball, a few days later, Cora tells Robert that she will not be kept away from her first grandchild. She admits it wasn't the lifestyle that she wanted for her daughter, but it is what happened and they all must accept it. She wants to go visit Sybil in Ireland, and for Sybil and her husband to come visit Downton.
Sybil and Tom returned to Downton for Matthew and Mary's wedding, thanks to money provided by Violet, who later told Tom one evening that "he is a member of the family now" and that "we Crawleys stick together." Upon arriving, Tom went downstairs to greet his former co-workers and let them know that he hadn't changed after his marriage to Sybil. He was treated warmly by Cora, Isobel, Mary, Edith, Anna and Mrs. Hughes, but Robert and Carson are less than pleased. Carson and Thomas Barrow both refused to act as valet to him, so Mrs. Hughes says that Alfred will have to do it, as he will merely need to check if Tom needs anything.
Tom also clashed with his in-laws about the proper dinner wear. Sybil suggested that he could buy proper wear with the money they had been given, but he refused on principle. He met Sybil's maternal grandmother, Martha Levinson, during the visit. Whilst catching up with the family, Martha revealed that she approved of Tom, his job and his republican sympathies. Throughout his visit, Tom tried to maintain a balance between his views and his wife's happiness. He also formed a friendship with Matthew Crawley, who tried to help him to fit in into the Crawley family. Eventually he did start wearing evening clothes, admitting in 1921 that he stopped wanting to talk about his clothing during every dinner.
At a pre-wedding dinner, Tom's drink was drugged by one of the guests, Larry Grey - a former suitor of Sybil's - so he would appear rude and drunk to the party. This caused Tom to loudly voice his left wing, republican views, much to everyone's discomfort and Larry's amusement. Fortunately, Crawley family friend and Lady Edith's then love interest Sir Anthony Strallan informed everyone that he saw Grey putting something in Tom's drink. When questioned, Larry said that Tom was "only a grubby little chauffeur chap," which made Robert, Matthew, and Grey's father, Lord Merton, stand up from their chairs. Larry's father apologized for his son's actions and hoped Tom would be well again in time for Matthew and Mary's wedding. Matthew Crawley also agreed with Grey's father, and to show his solidarity with Tom, announced that he wanted Tom to be his best man at his wedding, much to the delight of Sybil, Mary, and Isobel, though it was a bit of a shock for Robert and Carson. Tom was forgiven and Sybil helped him back to their room so he could rest. Nevertheless he still apologized for his behavior.
Before the wedding, Tom lost his fight about his attire, being forced to wear one of Matthew's old morning suits by Violet and Isobel, since he was now best man. Later, Tom helped Matthew to reconcile with Mary after they had a tense argument. His father-in-law thanked Tom for helping them, and the following day, he stood at Matthew's side in the church as best man.
A short time later, Tom and Sybil returned to Downton to attend the wedding of Lady Edith and Sir Anthony Strallan, and become aware that the Crawley family was having money trouble after Robert lost a great deal in a bad investment. They also learn that the family would have to sell Downton Abbey and live in a house which formerly belong to Robert's great-grandmother, which would be renamed Downton Place. At Cora's suggestion, the family visited the house and had a picnic the day before Edith's wedding. Here, Tom learned that the family planned to inform the staff (his former co-workers) after the wedding. Whilst observing the house, Tom mentioned that it looked like a fairy palace to most people, whilst Sybil noted that her family would be able to run the house with a smaller staff. However, later, Matthew Crawley accepted a large fortune, which meant that the Crawley family could stay instead of leaving Downton Abbey.
During dinner one evening, Sir Anthony told Tom that he learned from Edith that he's interested in politics, to which Robert politely remarked that "Tom is our tame revolutionary", and Sir Anthony replied that "Every family should have one". After Tom and Matthew left the room to play a game of billiards, Robert told him that the family are getting used to Tom, and he hoped Sir Anthony would too. On the day of Edith and Anthony's wedding, Tom was present at the church, seated next to his wife, Violet and Isobel, and witnessed Sir Anthony leave Edith at the alter. He and Sybil were both shocked and upset for Edith. Following this, he and Sybil returned to Dublin.
Not long afterwards, Tom returned to Downton on his own after getting into trouble with the Irish police for being present at the firing of an aristocratic family's house, and for attending republican meetings which advocated some level of violence. His arrival surprised his in-laws, but his explanation left them shocked, with Robert becoming enraged at Tom's behavior and the fact he left Sybil to follow him, since she was pregnant and Ireland was foreign to her, as well as dangerous. Tom was shown to be sincerely upset with himself and his behavior. Carson, upon hearing the news, told Mrs. Hughes that he knew it would happen, that Tom would bring shame and dishonor to the house. Mrs. Hughes however defended him, suggesting they wait until the morning. Later, Carson thought Tom might have attempted to burn Downton down, but it was just Mrs. Hughes adjusting to a toaster she bought.
Sybil arrived safely at Downton a day later. Tom was so pleased and relieved to see her, and they shared a kiss and hug upon reuniting. Robert was then asked to intervene on Tom's behalf. He did so, however, only for Sybil's sake, and was able to ensure that Tom remained free so long as he stayed at Downton and did not go back to Ireland, else he would be arrested. Tom was thunderstruck and furious by the ultimatum, claiming that he needed to be there to see the revolution through. Sybil did not know he had gone to several meetings of revolutionaries, and insisted he stay when he said he couldn't and that their child be born at Downton even though he wanted it born in Dublin, because she felt Downton could give them the peace and safety they needed. Even though Tom inisisted he was grateful to have been kept out of prison, Robert doesn't believe him, thinking he only says as much to keep peace with Sybil.Tom was at Sybil's side when she went into labor, he discussed with her, that he thinking about their future, and that his brother, who lives in Liverpool, might be having opening at his place at work, meaning he will be working with cars again, but Sybil insisted that they must go forward, and he must promise her that. Tom felt so helpless, and seeing her in pain, but Sybil was pleased that he was with her. Later, Doctor Clarkson became worried when Sybil started showing signs of eclampsia, which endangered her life, but both Robert and Sir Philip (who had been hired by Robert because of his issues with Doctor Clarkson's medical capabilities) ignored Clarkson's advice, with Sir Philip believing that taking Sybil to a public hospital would be far too much of a risk to her and the baby. This deeply concerned Tom, Cora and the rest of the family, but there was no time left to go ahead with Clarkson's option.
Whilst Sybil gave birth, Tom waited with Robert, Matthew and Violet in the library, until Mary entered to announce that Sybil had given birth to a baby girl, and that both mother and daughter were doing well. Tom immediately went to see his wife and daughter, telling Sybil how beautiful their child was, and that he loved her so much. He then left to allow Sybil to sleep.
However, later that night, Sybil became dangerously ill. Tom was present at her bedside as Cora and Robert were summoned, and pleaded to know what was wrong with Sybil and asked for help. As Sybil's symptoms became worse and she started to have seizures, Tom became more fearful and devastated, as Doctor Clarkson informed him and the family that it was eclampsia and that, sadly, nothing could be done to save Sybil's life once the fits started. Tom pleaded for the doctors to help Sybil as she suffocated, as Matthew too questioned how in that day-and-age, no medical help was possible. With nothing else to do, Tom held Sybil's hand, assuring her that he was there, asking her to breathe and not to leave him as she continued to seize. Sadly, Sybil suffocated and died, with Tom, her mother and father, her sisters Mary and Edith, and her brother-in-law at her bedside, leaving them devastated and heartbroken, most particularly when they heard the cry of Tom and Sybil's newborn daughter. Tom's former co-workers were all upset when they learned that Sybil had died. When Carson asked what they were going to do about Tom now, Mrs. Hughes said they would show him they were kind people.
After Sybil's death, Tom's mother-in-law sat and spoke to her youngest daughter's body, promising her that the family would look after Tom and their daughter. The following morning, Tom was with Mary in Sybil's room, where her body was laid out, when Edith informed them that the funeral directors had arrived to take away Sybil's body, to which Mary emphasized to Tom that they had to let them take her, even though it would be very hard for them to let Sybil go. Tom walked into a corner as Mary and Edith said their goodbyes to their youngest sister, and then left the room to let Tom say goodbye in private.
Shortly afterwards, Violet came to visit the family, finding Robert, Cora, Mary, Edith, Matthew and Isobel in the drawing room, asking where Tom was. Edith replied that he was upstairs and had rejected her when she'd asked if he had wanted anything. This caused Cora to comment "He wants his wife back, but that's what he can't have." Cora then started to leave the room whilst informing the family that she was going to write a letter to Dr. Clarkson to apologize for Robert's behavior towards him and not trusting his advice, which could have saved Sybil's life, thereby revealing that she blamed Robert for Sybil's death.
Tom chose to name his daughter Sybil, admitting though it would be painful he thought "it's right" because he wanted to remember her mother whenever he looked at her. He later had her baptized Catholic, like himself, stating that she was Irish. Matthew later began to include Tom in his plans for Downton, in which Tom surprised him with some knowledge about business and land. He reveals that his grandfather was a tenant farmer in Galway, specializing in Blackface sheep. When Downton's financial agent Jarvis resigned, Violet suggested Tom replace him, which he did, and moved with his daughter and her nanny in the agent's house. Later he and Matthew began a plan to buy farmland in order to build up an income for Downton. Their father-in-law was very upset about Matthew´s and Tom´s plans for modernizing the management of the Downton estate in order to make it a financially sound enterprise. In a heated exchange with his sons-in-law who are backed by Cora and Mary he threatened to withdraw from the whole operation and "take a back seat" from now on. Afterwards Tom was able to convince Lord Grantham that there still is an important role for him to play, and that they will be able to turn things around together, if each of them, i.e. Lord Grantham, Tom and Matthew, do the best they can do for the family and the estate. Lord Grantham was very impressed by Tom´s eloquence and asked in return for considering Tom´s appeal that Tom play cricket for the house team in the upcoming match against the village. Tom agreed.
As he learned cricket for the first time from Matthew at their father-in-law's request, he told him no matter what he learned, whether it be riding, fishing, or shooting, he would never be made into a gentleman, that "I'll still be an Irish Mick in my heart." Matthew responded by saying, "So I should hope."
At the cricket match, seeing how his daughter was surrounded by Sybil's family, Tom asked Cora if he could instead live at Downton until she was older, to which Cora readily agreed. The series ended with Tom catching Dr Clarkson out, and embracing both Robert and Matthew.
Tom stayed behind with his daughter in 1921 when the family went to Duneagle Castle. At a dinner with Mrs Crawley she gave him much praise for having "managed a delicate transition superbly" and encouraged him to be more self-confident in his new position as manager of the Downton estate. New maid Edna became interested in him and pursued him. She purposefully made him feel awkward about his new position by repeatedly referring to his having risen from being a chauffeur to becoming a member of the aristocratic family. Though he was not ready for a new relationship, as Mrs. Hughes noted, he did not discourage her. Mrs Hughes told Tom that he should not be ashamed of having risen to his new role in the family and that "Lady Sybil would have been proud of him". At this Tom broke down in grief and Mrs Hughes tried to console him. Edna is soon fired, and Tom still deeply misses his wife. He was also at one point taking Isis for a walk. When the family returned to Downton, Tom remarked to Edith that during their absence he had been "on some kind of a learning curve". He and the Crawley family learned that Mary has given birth to her and Matthew's first child, a baby boy, they were all waiting for Matthew's arrival back to Downton, to take the whole family to meet his and Mary's son in hospital, but unknown to everyone Matthew was killed in a car crash.
- "Look, it comes down to whether or not you love me! That's all! That's it! The rest is detail." - to his love.
- "Sometimes a hard sacrifice must be made for a future that's worth having." - to his love.
- "I´m sorry but I can´t change into someone else just to please you."- to his in-laws during his first upstairs dinner at Downton.
- "We all live in a harsh world, but at least I know I do." - to Lord Grantham
- "You won't be happy with anyone else as long as Lady Mary walks the earth."- to Matthew.
- "My daughter's Irish, and she'll be Catholic, like her father."
- "I'll not be separated from her. She's all I have left of her mother." - speaking of his daughter.
- "Every man or woman who marries into this house, every child born into it, has to put their gifts at the family's disposal." - to Lord Grantham.
- Tom has more than one cousin, for despite telling Sybil he "lost a cousin", he later tells Matthew that he can "get a cousin from Ireland" to look after Baby Sybbie for him, meaning he has more than one. The cousin who died was male, and since he said he could hire a woman or "get a cousin from Ireland" it is possible he may have at least one female cousin.
- Mary asked Tom "The brother who's coming to stay?" to confirm if Tom was talking about Kieran when he mentioned he originally would be moving in with him, so it might be possible he has a second brother.
- It is unknown if his father and grandfather are still alive; Tom was old enough to remember visiting his grandfather and seeing the sheep he raised.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Tom Branson is played by Irish actor Allen Leech.
- Actor Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson, doesn't appear in the 2011 Christmas Special, but his character Tom Branson is briefly mentioned by other characters.
- Actress Jessica Brown-Findlay who plays Lady Sybil Crawley, Actor Allen Leech who plays Tom Branson, and the Downton Abbey Writer and Creator Julian Fellowes talk about Tom Branson and Lady Sybil Crawley's relationship on Downton Abbey, Series 2 DVD special features - Romance In A Time Of Warfare:
- Actress Jessica Brown-Findlay:The connection she has with Branson is beautiful. In the first series, I never saw it. I never saw it sort of being romantic or anything like that. I never read it as that. She just so happy for there to be someone she could talk to, and understand her. Their relationship's really interesting because he tells her everything. How he feels about her really, and then he understands that than that freaks her out. At a point, I think when Sybil is leaving home, she's gonna be living away for two months, just sort thinking "You're doing this now? You've had two years!"
- Actor Allen Leech:The war changes so much of how people view the aristocracy. And... And. So everything is there to play for then. So he just keeps trying to push her to kind of see if she'll come round to his way of thinking. Obviously, if you've see Jessica Brown-Findlay, it's not hard to play opposite her, in fairness, you know? Looking like you want to kiss her is kind of like, "Well, that's hard, it's you."
- Downton Abbey Writer and Creator Julian Fellowes: I'm sure plenty of people were attracted to each other across the barriers. But I think Sybil is essentially a rebel. And I think one of her ways of expressing her rebellion is Branson. I think it isn't only that she finds him attractive or is in love with. It suits her to have a statement of rebellion in her life choice.
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 1||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3|
|Series 2||Episode 1|
|Series 3||Episode 1|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 He is 23 in May 1913, so that means he must have been born in or before May 1890, to be 23 at the time.
- ↑ Tom mentioned his grandfather in series three, episode six and episode seven
- ↑ Tom now works as the Manager of the Downton Estate, in series three, episode seven
- ↑ The wedding of Matthew and Lavinia is stated as being in April; Episode #2.8 starts in April 1919 as shown with the opening credits. It is 3 day before the wedding of Matthew and Lavinia as mention by Lady Mary in the opening scene. Shortly after Lavinia falls victim to the Spanish Flu and dies. This indicates that Lavinia died in April of 1919 so Sybil and Branson were married sometime between April and December 1919.